Accommodating Expected Population Growth with Multi-family Housing

Nate Peck Headshot Credit: Robyn Ivy

As featured in High Profile Monthly, March 2018
By Nathan Peck, LEED AP, president of Kaplan Construction

Boston’s population is expected to soar to an estimated 700,000 residents by the year 2030, creating a critical need to increase housing. Mayor Marty Walsh initiated a housing plan to provide 53,000 additional units of housing at a variety of income levels across the City, encouraging the development of multi-family housing projects to achieve this.

Detailed planning and thoughtful execution can convert vacant real estate and aging buildings to create new neighborhoods and help meet the demand for housing. Kaplan Construction, a WBE general contractor and construction management firm providing comprehensive building programs, has provided preconstruction and construction management services for over 50 multi-family housing developments across Greater Boston. The recent completion of two developments has added another 54 housing units towards meeting the Mayor’s housing goals.

Developed by Luzern Associates and designed by Urbanica, Inc., an unused parcel located at 143-171 Hyde Park Ave in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood was transformed into a lively, eco-friendly urban living community. The 49,300 SF development, named Tilia after the neighborhood’s abundance of Tilia trees, provides 24 units of modern energy-efficient townhouse-style condominiums, with three of the units designated as affordable. This is the first phase of a three-phased housing development project.

Parcel U Exterior Credit: Urbanica

Tilia, Jamaica Plain (credit: Urbanica)

Tilia features five wood-framed buildings with double insulated walls and triple pane windows to retain energy while masking the sounds of city life. Designed to LEED Silver specifications, including high efficiency heating and cooling systems and energy efficient appliances, Tilia serves those seeking a sustainable living environment. All units feature open floor plans in a variety of layouts ranging from 1+bed, 1 bath to 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath; contemporary kitchens with Caesarstone counters and stainless-steel appliances; in-unit laundry; garage parking; and designated storage units. Tilia is a modern multifamily development that offers eco-friendly construction and luxury touches with high-end finishes, a multitude of amenities, and private outdoor spaces.

Residents have a wide range of local restaurants, shops, bike paths and parks, including the Arnold Arboretum, all within walking distance. Conveniently located adjacent to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Forest Hills Orange Line Station, residents also enjoy access to both T and commuter rail as well as close proximity to the Southwest Corridor for connection to 16 bus routes and a bike path running to Back Bay.

9 Williams Street Exterior Credit: Madison Park Development Corporation

9 Williams Street, Roxbury (credit: MPDC)

9 Williams Street
Kaplan also completed the restoration of a historic building in Roxbury to create affordable housing and ground floor retail space. Originally built in 1915 and the former home to the Tropical Foods supermarket, the 44,000 SF building is now home to 30 mixed-income rental units, ranging from studio to three-bedroom units, and 7,500 square feet of retail space, a building management office, lobby, and bicycle storage closet. Extensive renovations were required, including the installation of all new utilities (gas, water, electric, sewer) as well as new mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection (MEP/FP) systems. The building also received new windows, storefront, and stucco on the exterior of the building, in compliance with National Park Service standards. The apartment units feature high ceilings, hardwood floors, and oversized windows to welcome an abundance of natural light.

The project is the outcome of an eight-year effort by the Roxbury community and the City of Boston to bring economic diversity and private investment to Dudley Square and the second in a three-phase development. 9 Williams Street/2101 Washington Street is owned by Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC), a leading developer of affordable housing in the nonprofit sector and one of the largest community development corporations (CDCs) in Massachusetts.

Multi-family housing developments can help fill the desperate need for more housing in Boston while offering residents easy access to the best of city living.

About the author
Nathan Peck, LEED AP, is the president of Kaplan Construction, a WBE general contractor and construction management firm providing comprehensive building programs across Greater Boston.