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.

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.








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 For more updates from Trinity Financial, contact us via Twitter and LinkedIn.



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.


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.







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 . For more updates from Trinity Financial, contact us via Twitter and LinkedIn.


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.

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.

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

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.






Sep 19, 2016
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The Future of a Mixed-Use Boston

By Kenan Bigby, Managing Director

From Boston’s urban core to its outer neighborhoods, mixed use developments are helping to shape the future of the city. On August 11, I spoke on a panel for Bisnow’s Boston Major Projects event, joining Samuels & Associates’ Joel Sklar, AEW Capital Management’s Robert Plumb, Sam Park of Sam Park Companies, and HubSpot’s Ken Papa to discuss how the way people live, work and play is impacting mixed-use developments, as well as the nuances around financing mixed-use projects depending on their uses.

A building’s mix of uses is fundamental to the success of a project. The process for programming a successful project in one of Boston’s outer neighborhoods can be very different from downtown and the suburbs, as we experienced with developing One Canal in Bulfinch Triangle versus developing Treadmark (Dorchester) and Boston East (East Boston). For instance, in developing Treadmark and Boston East, we needed to focus on providing neighborhood-centric retail in non-core locations, which can be a challenge.  While the retail uses themselves may be similar to those in more traditional locations, locally-owned, smaller proprietors aren’t going to be as well capitalized, which requires a whole different process for underwriting and creative ways to make the deal feasible. Attracting the right retailers to our projects matters and we seek to bring in businesses that identify with each of our buildings’ unique identities. At Trinity, we take creating projects that reflect the neighborhoods they are in, and meeting the needs of those neighborhoods, seriously.

Watch: The Future of a Mixed-Use Boston


I also had the opportunity to emphasize a few of Trinity’s projects that are transit-oriented, where we are creating vibrant, mixed-use projects outside of downtown.  Two recent groundbreakings — Treadmark, in Dorchester’s Ashmont neighborhood, and Boston East — showcase the viability of mixed-use developments in the neighborhoods of Boston.  Housing on public transportation is not a new phenomenon, but it can still be tricky to finance.  Although these projects are often more complicated, we have a proven-track record of creative, private-public partnerships, and we believe tackling development that are harder to do, bring the greatest reward.

As Boston looks to maintain its identity as the home of innovation – and a sought after destination for companies like GE – it also needs to remain affordable to the very people responsible for making Boston such a desirable destination. Earlier this year, the City of Boston released a report detailing how Boston should guide positive physical change over the next 15 years, which included middle-income workforce housing as a top priority. Of the 53,000 unit housing production goal delineated in the report, 20,000 are slotted to be middle-income workforce housing. To help those units come to fruition and promote economic growth and housing for the middle class, we need to be willing and able to create buildings that will help create a lasting legacy of a diverse, inclusive and sustainable Boston for years to come.

Thanks again to Bisnow for hosting a great panel!

Have you connected with Trinity on LinkedIn and Twitter yet? You can also learn more about our approach to development here.


Aug 19, 2016
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The New Face of Providence’s Imperial Knife Factory

One of Olneyville’s historic mills is getting a major renovation! This May, Rhode Island Housing’s Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary financing package for Trinity Financial’s plans to redevelop the former mill into 60 apartments. Located at 60 King Street in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood, the mill was built in 1923 and was originally the site of the Rochambeau Worsted Company. In the 1950s the mill was sold to the Imperial Knife Company, which operated in the building until at least 1988. After a series of multiple tenants occupied the building during the 1990s and early 2000s,  it has remained vacant since 2007.

What are the new plans for the old mill? Working with ONE Neighborhood Builders, a local community development corporation, Trinity is planning to rehabilitate and redevelop the site to include 54 affordable apartment units and 6 market-rate apartment units. Trinity’s proposal is part of an ongoing revitalization effort, the “Build Olneyville Plan,” which is focused on improving the Olneyville neighborhood and the nearby Manton Heights Public Housing development. Like many of Trinity’s other projects, 60 King Street was designed to provide quality affordable housing while fortifying a neighborhood through thoughtful and impactful development.

60 King - Site Plan and Rendering 2
As Dan Drazen, one of our project managers who is deeply involved in the project, explained, “Not only will this project activate a vacant building into 60 units of mixed-income housing, but it will also remediate a contaminated Brownfields site, save a historic asset, and strengthen the property’s connection to the rest of the Olneyville neighborhood.”

60 King - Site Plan and Rendering 1

60 King is expected to be completed in the spring of 2018. For more updates from Trinity Financial, connect with us via Twitter and LinkedIn.


Aug 04, 2016
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Looking Back: Recapping Boston East’s Groundbreaking

On Thursday, May 19, East Boston residents and government officials alike joined Trinity Financial to break ground at the new Boston East development on Border Street in East Boston. This was more than just a groundbreaking. Boston East is representative of the development renaissance taking place in East Boston, bringing the waterfront to life in the neighborhood with a 400-foot public boardwalk that includes a kayak launch, a community art gallery, an acre of open space and beautiful views of the city.

Boston East Event 05-19-16

Located centrally between Central Square and the Maverick T Station, Boston East will create 200 units of rental housing, 26 of which will be affordable housing, including six artist live/work/sell units on the ground floor.  As Governor Baker noted, “not only will [Boston East] bring new housing opportunities to East Boston, but it will open up the waterfront to the entire community, transforming a former industrial site into an asset for the neighborhood as a whole.”

Mayor Walsh also spoke at the groundbreaking, highlighting more of the benefits Boston East will provide for the entire East Boston community through increased access to the Boston Harbor, expanded open space, and space to celebrate art and culture. Other speakers at the groundbreaking included State Representative Adrian Madaro, City Councillor Sal LaMattina, East Boston Community Development Corporation Executive Director Al Caldarelli, and Trinity’s own Vice President of Development, Abby Goldenfarb. As construction continues, we’re thrilled to witness the positive impact Boston East has on the neighborhood and on future development in the area.

2014-08-20--Water View

Boston East is expected to open in fall 2017. For more information about Boston East, visit For more updates from Trinity Financial, connect with us via Twitter and LinkedIn.


Jul 19, 2016
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