We are extremely excited to announce that Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation (ABCDC) closed on the Hill Memorial Baptist Church site, located at 279-283 North Harvard Street in Allston on December 18, 2023
The purchase of the site was the culmination of a five-plus-year effort to secure the property for use as a site for affordable housing. Since late 2018, ABCDC has been actively engaged in discussions with the Hill Memorial Baptist Church (HMBC) congregation along with HMBC’s partners at The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts (TABCOM), about the potential redevelopment of the site. The five-year effort took a series of twists and turns and was impacted by the process that needed to happen to acknowledge the end of the site as home for a church community that used the property since 1903 or earlier.
Now that the site is secured, ABCDC will pick up on the ongoing effort to build an affordable elderly rental development in partnership with Brighton Allston Elderly Housing (BAEH), known locally as the McNamara House. The lack of affordable housing for older adults is underscored by the long waiting list at the McNamara House that has grown to over three years to attain one of their independent living units at their Holton Street location.
To address the need for stable and affordable housing opportunities for elderly residents, ABCDC and BAEH are working to repurpose the historic Hill Memorial Baptist Church site into 50 units of elderly housing for low-income seniors. Not only will these units provide stable housing for seniors, but the project will serve as a place for elderly residents to spend time as a community and stay active in the neighborhood that they love.
“This project really exemplifies the importance of collaboration in affordable housing development,” said John Woods, ABCDC’s Executive Director. “By working together with some amazing partners, we are expecting to fill a pivotal gap in the continuum of affordable housing by creating more opportunities for folks to age in place in the community that they call home.”
The funds used to purchase the property were made available to the City of Boston from Harvard University as an advance payment on the ERC project Affordable Housing Benefits. The use of the City funds requires that the site be used as a location for affordable housing for at least 99 years.
We are extremely grateful to be provided this wonderful opportunity to make a positive impact for the North Allston neighborhood. Our thanks extend to the hard work of our City Councilor Liz Breadon for helping to make this happen. We thank Mayor Wu and her administration for taking the steps needed to allow us to purchase this important site. We thank Harvard University for fronting their Affordable Housing Benefits committed through the ERC Project including the help of Mark Handley in his role as Director of Government & Community Relations. We are also extremely grateful to the residents of Allston who spent countless hours working on developing the partnership with Harvard University and the City of Boston to ensure the kind of benefits that came out of the ERC Project. Finally, we would like to thank the residents of the neighborhood around the Hill Memorial Baptist Church site who have been so patient and cooperative as we have worked through the discussions on how to make this important site work as a location for affordable housing.
Stay tuned for more project updates and pictures when construction begins!