by Jerry Rappaport, Jr.
The vision for Olmsted Green and its East and West Campus was ahead of its time nearly 20 years ago when a partnership between the New Boston Fund and the Lena Park CDC was designated as the master developer of the nearly 38.5 acres in Mattapan on the former Boston State Hospital site. This partnership created the largest private development in Mattapan’s history generating $250 million of economic and housing development, achieved industry leading utilization of MBE/WBE companies and local hiring and generated the largest opportunity for homeownership wealth creation for local renters. Olmsted Green is among the first developments to use MassHousing’s Commonwealth Builder Fund homeownership program and 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to address the racial homeownership gap.
An upcoming groundbreaking event will celebrate the beginning of construction on The Preserve at Olmsted Green and the opening of the on-site Gateway Center. The Preserve at Olmsted Green will add 80 condominiums of mixed income home ownership, which includes 63 condos for affordable to moderate-income units for first-time homebuyers. The Preserve is the final phase of Olmsted Green which started in 2006 and will be completed in 2024, a heroic journey for the Boston State Hospital Citizen’s Advisory Committee, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Capital and Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and the development team.
The recently completed 3,000sf Gateway Center on the West Campus offers a community and family event center, cybercafe, fitness center and the community management offices. Lena Park CDC and Winn Management will run ongoing financial literacy and access to homeownership training, job training and placement programs and community social events.
Development of an elementary school and a high school serving approximately 780 students constructed by Edward W. Brooke Charter School, and an athletic field for active/passive recreation to be built in the coming year, are part of this impactful community development.
We are all proud of this tremendous accomplishment that took almost 20 years and many community leaders and public funding village participants to pull off. Our partnership with the Lena Park CDC along with the steadfast support of Representative Russell Holmes – who stuck with the original vision and the compelling need to finish the project for the benefit of the entire community – is a testament to the broad based commitment to close the homeownership gap in Boston.
The affordability initiative at The Preserve at Olmsted Green is supported by MassHousing’s Commonwealth Builders Fund, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Neighborhood Housing Trust Funding, Inclusionary Development Policy, and American Rescue Plan Act. The development is being funded by Silicon Valley Bank and Eastern Bank, The Life Initiative, Blue Hub Capital, city and state funds and equity funding from New Boston Fund, Inc. and their syndicated OG Revival LLC partnership.
The community is being built by NEI General Contracting, builder of the last three phases at Olmsted Green that has achieved industry leading results in using minority business enterprises and encouraging and having their subcontractors hiring Black and brown workers, workers from the surrounding neighborhoods, and Boston residents. Davis Square Associates is the designer for this phase. Olmsted Green has been designed throughout all past phases by ICON Architects.
Jerry Rappaport, Jr. is president at Rappaport Real Estate Investment Advisors and president and managing director of CRP Development, a smart growth housing development firm focusing on investment and development activity in New England, D.C. Metro area and Florida.