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The Evolution of East Boston

By Abby Goldenfarb and Eva Erlich

Few areas in Boston have experienced rapid growth quite the way that East Boston has. In the past few years alone, cranes have sprouted up across the neighborhood, reflecting the demand for housing and development close to downtown Boston and accessibility to Boston public transit. The cranes have been accompanied by a ripple effect of new restaurants, businesses and cultural destinations headed to Eastie, including an announcement from the ICA earlier this spring that they will open a new outpost on the East Boston waterfront. There’s no doubt about it – Eastie is hot! But years before other developers began visiting East Boston in droves, Trinity was already there, committed to creating transformative projects that would play a pivotal role in the evolution of Eastie.

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Trinity Financial’s work in East Boston began over a decade ago with Maverick Landing. In 2001, the Boston Housing Authority was awarded a $35 million HOPE VI award for the complete renovation of Maverick Gardens, a deteriorating public housing complex on the Eastie waterfront. With the partnership of the East Boston Community Development Corporation (EBCDC), we transformed the site, demolishing all 413 units and replacing them with 396 units in newly constructed buildings including 20 townhouses, six six-story mid-rise buildings, and a community center. The final result? A new, mixed-income community called Maverick Landing, designed to provide a new corridor to Boston Harbor and reconnect Maverick to the rest of the East Boston community. Located conveniently near the Maverick MBTA stop, residents also have easy access to downtown Boston and the surrounding areas.

A short distance away from Maverick Landing on the Eastie waterfront sits Boston East, our newest development in the neighborhood. In 2006, Trinity and the EBCDC were designated developer by the City of Boston on this blighted parcel of land on Border Street. After years of working through complicated design challenges, complex waterfront permitting hurdles and the turbulence of the 2008 recession, Trinity was able to begin construction on the project in 2015.

2Located between the Central Square and Maverick MBTA stations, we were able to transform what was once an industrial site into 200 breathtaking rental apartments, including six artist live-work apartments. Residents will be able to benefit from unique amenities like a kayak and paddle board launch; a yard with grills and a fire pit, a dog spa, a Hubway dock and Zipcar spots on-site.

Additionally, there is a dedicated space for artists, an open gallery space celebrating the neighborhood’s arts and culture providing ample opportunities for the community to come together for art exhibitions and community events. Currently leasing, we can’t wait for Boston East to open in early 2018 so the community can experience all that it has to offer.

3Trinity’s presence in East Boston extends beyond the waterfront, too. Just last year we broke ground with the Boston Housing Authority and EBCDC at the Boston Housing Authority’s Orient Heights development, located in the hills of East Boston’s Orient Heights neighborhood. Built in 1951, Orient Heights is a 15-acre site comprised of 331 units of state-funded public housing, a community center and a central boiler plant, all terraced into a steep hillside and in great need of maintenance and modernization. Through multiple phases, this project will redevelop the entire Orient Heights development, yielding 373 units of new, beautiful housing, 331 of which will be replacement units.

At Trinity Financial, we’re proud to have been part of the East Boston landscape for years. While development in Eastie shows no signs of slowing down, we’re committed to continuing to look for sites- as we did in Maverick, Boston East and Orient Heights – where we can introduce transformative development that reflects the wants and needs of the community so that East Boston can thrive.

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Dec 06, 2017
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35@EightSixty Block Party Brings Together Lower Roxbury & South End Communities

By Eva Erlich, vice president

On Saturday, September 23, hundreds of residents and neighbors of the Northampton Square Campus, which bridges the Lower Roxbury and South End communities, joined together for a community block party to celebrate the newly renovated 35@EightSixty. With Northampton Street blocked off to car traffic for the day, community members, families and children of all ages enjoyed music, dancing, live art from Artists for Humanity and other artists, games and free food.

1 The Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Medical Center, and Hope House were also on-hand, providing information and resources for members of the community.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh was among the crowd of community members who attended the block party, stopping to talk with residents and neighbors and learn more about the renovation work done at 35@EightSixty.

2Built between 1969 and 1973 to house the Boston City Hospital School of Nursing, the City of Boston and Boston Public Health Commission procured our team in 2010 to modernize components of the Campus that were in desperate need of capital repairs.

The residential apartments at the Campus were suffering from decades of deferred maintenance, and the physical condition was jeopardizing the ability to continue providing this important housing resource in this neighborhood.  Renovations to the two towers, which began in 2013 and completed in 2016, included upgraded kitchens, renovated bathrooms, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and energy efficient windows with new blinds in all units – and all of this work was completed while residents continued to live in their apartments.

[From left to right: before & after]

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The modernization project also included new mechanical and electrical systems, façade repairs and improvements, a new roof, elevator upgrades, new laundry rooms, and improved security systems.  As a part of our work at this development, the 347 apartments in the two residential towers, 35 Northampton and 860 Harrison, are now deed-restricted affordable apartments.

It was a beautiful day surrounded by our friends and the community at 35@EightSixty.

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Dec 06, 2017
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Randolph Houses receives 27th Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award

By Thomas Brown – Development Manager, NYC

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This year, Phase 1 of Randolph Houses will receive the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Project Award, an award that recognizes projects that demonstrate excellence in the restoration, preservation or adaptive reuse of historic buildings. The awards are named for Lucy G. Moses, a New Yorker whose generosity benefited the city for more than 50 years. The Lucy G. Moses Awards are the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s highest honors for outstanding preservation honoring projects that “provide jobs, promote tourism, maintain beloved institutions, and protect the character of the City.”

The first phase of the Randolph Houses project successfully rehabilitated 22 of the 36 five story Old Law tenement buildings that make up the development. Once slated for demolition due to its deteriorating state, Trinity took on the Randolph Houses project, along with partners West Harlem Group Assistance and NYCHA, to execute on the historic rehabilitation of the existing structures into two sets of interconnected and fully handicap-accessible buildings. The building facades have been restored and now feature repaired brownstone, limestone and brick, as well as new cast-iron window surrounds, new windows and doors. The interiors of the buildings have been completely demolished and rehabilitated into 168 units of affordable and public housing, along with community spaces. The reconfigured 168 units are a mix of studio, one-, two-, three- and four bedroom apartments designed to accommodate family living. The rehabilitated buildings contain community space, computer lab, fitness room and storage for residents. There are also site improvements which include two children’s play areas for different age groups and active and passive outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy.

We strongly believe in preserving the architectural integrity of the neighborhoods we work in while creating a positive change for all residents. Trinity, along with our partners from West Harlem Group Assistance and NYCHA, is honored to receive this award. Thank you, New York Landmarks Conservancy, for including Randolph Houses among your 2017 winners!

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May 09, 2017
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A Recap of ABX 2016 – Mixed Income Housing In Smart Locations: Making It Work

By Kenan Bigby, Managing Director

 

Mixed-income housing has been a growing trend in real estate over the past decade, spurred both by community needs and by developers looking to distinguish their projects from the field. But the process of building mixed-income developments is not as straight forward as sprinkling affordable units into a new market-rate development. These types of projects are complicated requiring complex financial structuring, careful planning and strategic location selection. So why do it?  Last winter, I spoke on a panel at ABX 2016 where I was joined by Angie Liou, Executive Director of Asian Community Development Corporation and Andre Leroux Executive Director – Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance.

During the panel, I shared insights about our Enterprise Center development in Brockton, MA, discussing the challenges and importance of building mixed-income housing in smart locations.

When Trinity Financial first looked at Brockton, MA as a location to invest in, the city was at the beginning of its renaissance. While market conditions were not yet strong enough to support a fully market-rate development downtown, elected officials and stakeholders expressed a need for more market-rate housing, fearing that exclusively developing affordable units would prevent the type of economic development necessary to spur Brockton’s emerging downtown.

 

 

EnterpriseCenter_Ext_13So what made us decide that Brockton would be a smart site to develop mixed-income housing? Brockton had two of the most important ingredients – the right physical location, and dedicated and involved stakeholders. First, the Enterprise Center is transit-oriented, located within close proximity to the MBTA Commuter Rail system as well as the Brockton Area Transit bus system, ensuring residents will be well-connected to the surrounding community. Because of the existing infrastructure in downtown Brockton, we were confident that the city would be able to accommodate the new development, physically and economically. But ensuring that the project would come to fruition required a strong coalition, including Brockton stakeholders such as: local elected officials, municipal employees, members of the downtown business community and of course, the Trinity team , aligning with a shared mission to benefit the Brockton community at large. With the right location and team, we were able to transform a parcel of land that generated no revenue into a fully taxable property, providing an economic stimulus through development that will help revitalize Brockton. A rising tide floats all boats and as downtown Brockton strengthens, it will continue to encourage more development, making Brockton a smart city for future mixed-income and mixed-use developments.

In 2015, we completed Phase 1 of the Enterprise Center, creating 113 total housing units, including 42 market rate, 29 affordable and 42 artist preference units. Along with 52,000 square feet of commercial/office space, 10,000 square feet of retail and artist exhibition space, 95 residential parking garage spaces and 185 surface parking lot spaces, the Enterprise Center is now a successful development that Trinity Financial is proud to have as a part of our portfolio. But that’s not all – we are looking forward to beginning Phase 2 later this year!

For more information on Enterprise Center click here. For more information on Trinity Financial visit our website or follow us on Twitter at @Trinity_RE.

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Apr 15, 2017
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425 Grand Concourse Sets the Bar for Energy Efficiency with Passive House

By Christoph Stump – Assistant VP, Design & Construction, NYC

At Trinity, our goal is always to deliver high quality and cutting-edge mixed-use urban projects, regardless of the challenges stemming from politics, infrastructure, environment or market profile. So when we responded to the City of New York’s Request for Proposals for 425 Grand Concourse in the Bronx, which sought a mixed-use building with 100 percent subsidized affordable rental units, it was time to get creative and include as many community benefits as feasible. Currently, 425 Grand Concourse is in the midst of a major revitalization. Under the ownership of the City of New York, the parcel is intended to support the creation of long-term affordable housing in a quickly gentrifying neighborhood. We put together a plan to help bring the building, and the substantial changes requested by the City, to fruition.

We proposed a 28-story mixed-use building with 289 apartments, an urgent care center, cultural space, an educational facility of more than 35,000 square feet, and a retail space of about 12,000 square feet, totaling approximately 322,000 square feet. Even though it wasn’t required by the RFP, we integrated Passive House, a design concept for energy efficiency in a building, helping to greatly reduce the building’s carbon footprint while simultaneously addressing a host of challenges facing multi-family buildings, particularly affordable housing, including:

Savings. In affordable housing, since rents are comparably lower than market-rate apartments, a tenant’s utility bill takes up a much larger share of the family’s housing cost than it would for market-rate housing. With a total energy demand of only 25 percent compared to a code-compliant “standard” building, the savings on utility costs have major cost savings for both tenants and landlords.

Maximizing heat- and energy-recovery systems. A “standard” new building includes a thermal building envelope and stale air exhaust system, typically via a toilet and kitchen exhaust. Passive House works by combining increased thermal and air tightness performance of the building envelope and heat- or energy-recovery. With energy-recovery systems, 80 to 90 percent of the energy contained in the exhaust air is recovered and used for the pre-conditioning of the incoming fresh air, greatly reducing the actual heating and cooling loads.

Fresh air supply. The mechanical fresh air supply through heat- or energy-recovery units into apartments has additional benefits to tenants, including significantly increased comfort from a constant, tempered, low-velocity fresh air supply with filtered, fresh outside air. For tenants, this means minimal exposure to asthma triggering dust and other environmental particles commonly found in outside air.

Building quality. With increased thermal and air barrier requirements for the facade, foundations, and roof, quality control during design and construction is critical to achieving the Passive House standard. The result? A better performing building envelope as well as mechanical system that keep pests, air pollutants, water, and noise outside the building.

But still, teams considering Passive House need to look at the challenges of implementation. Typically, the consequent continuity of the exterior air barrier and the superior thermal envelope with minimized thermal bridging are challenges of any Passive House, and new techniques for air sealing and the elimination of thermal bridges need to be learned, developed and applied. Specialty consultants for Passive House certification and air tightness testing are necessary in addition to standard consultants, but both standard consultants and the development and construction team also have to undergo Passive House training. Without the entire project team committed, Passive House certification will be hard to achieve.

With all these obstacles, why would a developer voluntarily choose to achieve the Passive House standard in a multi-family building?

Passive House benefits are easier to achieve in multi-family than in single family buildings as the ratio between envelope size and enclosed building volume is much more favorable in multi-family projects. The main source of added cost to construction of a Passive House is the energy-recovery ventilation, as well as the added design and construction work to ensure a continuous thermal and air barrier. But with HVAC systems much smaller than in standard buildings, it can be argued that the increase in construction cost is minor. When you look at the benefit of reduced utility bills, increased tenant comfort and building quality, the advantages are undeniable.

Public policy is also boosting the push for Passive House. The City of New York is among one of the first major American cities to have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent of the 2005 levels by 2050, in order to stem the effects of human-induced climate change. In New York, the vast majority of carbon emissions stem from buildings, so Passive House is an important building concept monitored by City Hall with great interest.

As the benefits of Passive House continue to grow more apparent, we’re excited to see how it becomes integrated into multi-family buildings across the rest of the United States. With our experience at the forefront of the Passive House movement as one of the first developers in the country to implement the Passive House standard in a multi-family building, we look forward to being involved in additional Passive House implementation in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Feb 22, 2017
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Reaching New Heights: A Groundbreaking in East Boston

By Eva Erlich – VP, Development 

On a rainy and overcast December morning, community members, local and state officials alike gathered together on the side of a hill in East Boston. Through the clear-roofed tent you could fully take in your surroundings: the weathered brick buildings of the Orient Heights community, 331 units of state-funded public housing in dire need of maintenance and modernization terraced into the hillside. Looking around, it was clear that there was work to do, but warming up in that tent was a community ready to reshape their home on the hill with the groundbreaking of Orient Heights.

Phase One of the Orient Heights redevelopment will result in the demolition of four existing buildings containing 90 dwelling units and the central boiler plant, and the new construction of 120 affordable housing units in a series of clustered townhouses and a mid rise building along Waldemar Avenue. The reconstruction of these units will serve as a way to bring safe, improved housing to the current residents of Orient Heights.

In the photo from left to right: Eva Erlich (Trinity Financial), Senator Joseph Boncore, Al Caldarelli (East Boston Community Development Corporation), Chrystal Kornegay (Department of Housing and Community Development), Carol Johnson (Orient Heights Local Tenant Organization), Mayor Martin J. Walsh, William McGonagle (Boston Housing Authority), Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina, State Representative Adrian Madaro, Noel Henderson-James (Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc.), Karen Kelleher (MassHousing), and Michael Koessel (Citi).

 

 

Among the groundbreaking attendees were residents of the existing development and surrounding neighborhood, construction workers, elected officials and financing partners, joined together to celebrate the groundbreaking of Phase One of the redevelopment of Orient Heights, which for many symbolized the renewal of a great East Boston neighborhood. The event included a series of speakers, including remarks from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on the importance of developing affordable units and revitalizing units for families who have lived there for decades. Carol Johnson, President of the Orient Heights Local Tenant Organization, spoke of the importance of the development, and explained just how much the project means for the community at large. Other speakers included Al Caldarelli of the East Boston Community Development Corporation, Chrystal Kornegay from the Department of Housing and Community Development, William McGonagle from the Boston Housing Authority, Noel Henderson-James from Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc., Karen Kelleher from MassHousing, and Michael Koessel from Citi.

Orient Heights is currently under construction and Phase One is expected to be completed in 2018. For more information, visit www.TrinityFinancial.com. For more updates from Trinity Financial, contact us via Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

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Jan 15, 2017
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Not Just a Groundbreaking – How Treadmark is Helping to Revitalize Ashmont

Chris Stanley, Assistant Vice President – Design & Construction

 “Dorchester is the place to be,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh as he stood in front of the crowd gathered in July across the street from a bustling construction site. Having lived in the Ashmont neighborhood of Dorchester for almost 15 years, I can assure you that wasn’t always the sentiment some residents and government officials felt about our area of the city. But lately, things are improving and changing, rapidly, in this Boston neighborhood. On July 11, Trinity Financial brought together government officials, community groups, and our neighbors to break ground, open the sales center, and unveil the name of our new building, Treadmark. The newest mixed-income, mixed-use, and transit-oriented development in Dorchester’s Ashmont neighborhood, Treadmark is the second of Trinity’s transit-oriented development projects in the neighborhood following The Carruth, also located on Dorchester Avenue.

Aptly named with a nod to the site’s former use as the home of the Ashmont Tire company, Treadmark will comprise 51 affordable rental units and 32 ownership units. New Treadmark residents won’t be the only ones benefitting from the construction; Ashmont neighbors have some great food to look forward to, too!  In addition to the new residential units, Treadmark will also include 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, anchored by specialty food retailer, American Provisions.

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The groundbreaking, emceed by our Senior Project Manager Matt Zahler, included a number of notable speakers, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Managing Director of RBC Craig Wagner, President and CEO of Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation Joe Flatley, Senior Vice President of Boston Private Peter Hollands, and Board President of Greater Ashmont Main Street Phillipe Saad. As many of the speakers noted, the project showcases the transformative results that come from a strong public-private partnership and tireless neighborhood support. Treadmark represents the great work that can be done through collaboration by leveraging significant investments from both the city and state to create new housing and business opportunities

And in an effort to not only make housing affordable, but to also make it cool, all 83 units of Treadmark were beautifully designed by HGTV star and Boston-based interior designer Taniya Nayak of Taniya Nayak Design. Taniya herself offered tours of the model-unit which has been installed at the sales center across the street in the Carruth building. Taniya showed off the interior design, including the condo units’ customizable wallpaper and sliding barn doors.

 

treadmark-event-7-11-16As Boston develops beyond its traditional urban center, revitalizing the heart and soul of Boston- its neighborhoods – is imperative. The ongoing revitalization effort of Ashmont and Peabody Square has been in the works since the late 1990’s, when Trinity, elected officials and neighbors envisioned and collaborated on what we wanted the neighborhood to look like. We imagined these types of restaurants and retailers would build the sense of community participation that led business and new residents to come here.  Just ten years ago, Ashmont and Peabody Square were simply a sketchy and trash strewn pass-through to catch the T, and the vibrant diversity of the neighborhood, just beyond the T station, was often overlooked. From a development perspective, we have always sought to maintain that diversity in the square while also bringing in new opportunities for housing and retail tenants. By the time it is completed, Treadmark and its’ sister property, The Carruth, will have added 199 units of housing to the square. As a resident of Dorchester who is proud to raise my three children here, I am thrilled to have seen firsthand the transformation of this thriving community. Of late, I’ve enjoyed the knowing looks among my neighbors when social media announces their discovery of Dorchester.  There are always more people and places to discover here.

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With Treadmark’s cool interior design, unprecedented number of new, affordable units in this neighborhood, and access to local shops, restaurants and the MBTA, it’s clear that Mayor Walsh got it right- Dorchester is definitely “the place to be.”

Treadmark is currently under construction and expected to open in Fall of 2017. For more information, visit www.livetreadmark.com . For more updates from Trinity Financial, contact us via Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Dec 12, 2016
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Banker & Tradesman Coverage: Dorchester Tire Shop Gives Way To Designer Apartments

We were thrilled to be included in Banker & Tradesman’s coverage of the recent groundbreaking and sales center opening of Treadmark, our newest mixed-income residential complex in Dorchester’s Ashmont neighborhood. Treadmark is comprised of 83 units designed by Boston-based interior designer and HGTV star Taniya Nayak, including 51 affordable rental units. Marking the next step in revitalizing the Ashmont neighborhood, Steve Adams reports, Treadmark is an example of how private developers can use state and local subsidies to accomplish great work.

For the full story, please see Banker & Tradesman.

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Oct 19, 2016
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Banker & Tradesman Coverage: Why Boston Needs Workforce Housing

Banker & Tradesman Coverage: Why Boston Needs Workforce Housing

As Boston’s economy and population have grown, so has the rate of construction and development. So what’s the issue? Trinity Financial’s managing director Kenan Bigby shares his thoughts concerning the lack of workforce housing for Boston’s middle class and why it’s so crucial that the city create more to sustain economic growth.

To read the full story, please see Banker & Tradesman.

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Oct 19, 2016
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Cutting the Ribbon on Trinity’s Newest Market Rate Development at One Canal

By Abby Goldenfarb, Vice President – Development

In the thick of the Big Dig’s complications and delays, Bostonians nearly lost sight of what it was this massive urban facelift was gearing up to accomplish. But nine years after its completion, residents and visitors alike can be seen enjoying the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the summer and conveniently strolling and holiday shopping from the North End to Government Center in the winter.  The Big Dig opened up the city to be connected in a vital way and also opened the door to the development of much needed housing in a centrally located and highly desirable part of the city.

One-Canal-2Enter One Canal. Nestled in the heart of the Bulfinch Triangle neighborhood, the new market rate, mixed-use building is now open, serving as a visual representation of the transformation of the area and significant investment into the neighborhood. One Canal, a joint venture between both Trinity Financial and Aimco, is downtown luxury at its finest. Consisting of 310 rental residential apartments, including 20 affordable units and 21,000 square feet of ground floor retail, One Canal stands within walking distance to live events at TD Garden, multiple MBTA lines, the action of Government Center, boating along the Boston Harbor, and cannolis in the North End.

aed_0196On July 13, local and state dignitaries, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, joined Trinity Financial and Aimco for the official ribbon cutting at One Canal. It was a perfect day for One Canal to show off its expansive list of amenities and all that it has to offer. Above the 12 stories on the finished roof deck, attendees at the event took in the picturesque 360-degree view of the Boston skyline while checking out the heated pool, outdoor cinema and fire-pit. And the amenities don’t stop outside. Inside, residents can enjoy a 2,000-square-foot fitness center and the Canal Club resident lounge. If you’re worried about finding a spot in the densely populated West End for your car, with a 147-space resident garage, parking is no issue. Ground retail tenants will include Boston’s first City Winery, a specialty culinary destination set to open in 2017.bn-oo401_0623bo_m_20160620162841

For information on One Canal visit the website or follow on Twitter at @OneCanalApts. For more information visit Trinity Financial follow us on Twitter at @Trinity_RE.

 

 

 

 

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Sep 19, 2016
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