New Sustainable Development Rolls Doubles

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New Sustainable Development Rolls Doubles

According to the developer of Lena Park, Boston’s new Olmstead Green will consist of 153 affordable housing units and live up to its name by offering environment-friendly equipment and eco-savvy designs.

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Monopoly is more than just the childhood rainy-day board game that everyone both loves and hates. If you look past the 15 times you were “just visiting” jail and ignore the cheating banker, you will find a visual representation of a true mixed-income housing development. A place where the Baltic Avenues and Park Places of the world can live contently within inches of one another. A place where there is free parking, public transportation, gardens and community. A place like Olmsted Green in Boston.

Lena Park Community Development Corporation, New Boston Fund and Urban Strategy American (USA) Fund are teaming together in a joint venture that will mirror the idlyllic candy-colored board game. The development, named Olmsted Green after landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, is situated on 42 acres of land once occupied by Massachusetts’s state mental institute. Following the hospital’s closure nearly 30 years ago, its vast property, nestled in the heart of Boston, was left vacant. Fast-forward a quarter of a century and the grounds have transformed into the future site of a $150-million sustainable-housing development project.

In true Monopoly fashion, Olmsted Green will offer housing in a range of prices. The construction of the energy-efficient neighborhood is guided by the philosophy, “Houses for everybody,” says USA Fund president and managing director Kirk Sykes, according to a May article published in The Boston Globe. “Houses you can own. Houses you can rent. A place for everybody is what we are celebrating today.” According to the developer of Lena Park, the community will consist of 153 affordable housing units, at least 80 supportive-senior housing units and 287 higher-priced houses (starting in the upper $200,000s).

In addition to bringing together residents from diverse socioeconomic statuses, Olmsted Green will live up to its name by offering environment-friendly equipment and eco-savvy designs. Equipped with Energy Star appliances, all townhouses and condominiums feature energy-saving insulation and windows. A fitness center, daycare programs, job training and social services are all within a walk away. Not to mention an urban farm, providing a sustainable living culture that sets the bar high for other area developments. Residents living in the development are just a roll away from local family-friendly facilities, including Franklin Park and golf course, Zoo New England and the Mass Audubon/Boston Nature Center. Each tenant will have at least one spot for parking, according to an article featured in The New York Times . Unfortunately, unlike Monopoly, there won’t be baby-blue fifty-dollar bills waiting for you when you pull in.

In addition to all these amenities, Olmsted Green offers something few other new housing developments do—opportunity. One-third of the firms associated with the architectural, sales and marking communications sides of Olmsted Green are either minority-, women- or locally owned companies, according to the community’s website. The combination of available local jobs, affordable housing and surrounding nature creates a neighborhood that lower-income households don’t usually have the chance to reside in.

With all the community and state support, Olmsted Green is rolling doubles and proving to be an efficient way to transform a vacant lot.

By Kathryn Kondracki for Next American City.

Tags: affordable housingreal estatebostonenergy

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