The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing has selected The Neighborhood Developers’ (TND) Box District as a winner of this year’s Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award.
ULI’s Terwilliger Center celebrates and promotes the exemplary efforts of real estate and public policy leaders from across the country who are working to expand affordable and workforce housing opportunities. The award was delivered in New York at ULI’s national conference.
The Box District includes 248 new mixed-income apartments and condominiums plus a new park that transformed a former blighted industrial site in Chelsea using a mix of new construction, adaptive reuse of old factories and modular building methods. The redevelopment of the Box District, now a smart growth district that will soon be home to a new Silver Line transit stop, is a result of long-term collaboration between The Neighborhood Developers, Mitchell Properties, and the City of Chelsea. The phased development began with The Neighborhood Developer’s purchase of a vacant factory in the district in 2006.
Prior to TND’s investment in creating the new neighborhood, as box and mattress manufacturers shut down or relocated, the industrial area, near the heart of downtown Chelsea, lay dormant. Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, a native of Chelsea, often recalls how his mother wouldn’t let him play in the area due to safety concerns. Today many children play in the Box District’s new public park.
The project has benefitted from a series of state initiatives designed to spur redevelopment; including most recently the Housing Development Investment Program to spur market rate housing, coupled with a new Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation loan program that encourages Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Since the opening of the first apartments in 2008, rental apartments and condos have filled up in spite of a stalled housing market, and the first market-rate development, Atlas Lofts, reached full occupancy a year ahead of schedule. After full build out later this year, 51 percent of the new homes will be market rate, at rent levels previously unheard of for this neighborhood.
The ULI is a global nonprofit education and research institute.
TND’s Ann Houston stated, “We’re incredibly humbled to receive this award from the ULI. Each Box District partner brought skills and resources to the project and a shared vision for the area’s revitalization. That vision saw us through a good number of challenges including the 2008 housing downturn. We’ve made huge inroads into improving the safety, mixed-income housing availability, green space, and public amenities to what was once abandoned part of the city. This neighborhood has helped to set a new standard for Chelsea, and we’re proud to lead the charge.”
The Neighborhood Developers received the ULI award just one week after hosting Federal Reserve Chair Yellen at their offices in Chelsea.
Founded in 1979, TND spent the first 25 years developing great, affordable places to live in Chelsea. In 2006, TND expanded its emphasis from solely building affordable homes to building vital neighborhoods, focusing on both the people and the place. Its programs are delivered in Chelsea and Revere.