Planning Projects

The CHA has a number of small and large scale projects in the planning stages with planning efforts to continue through 2021.

Large Scale Planning Projects

Jefferson Park Federal Revitalization and Expansion – $150 million

NEW: A standalone Jefferson Park Federal website is now available to help keep you up to date with information, meetings, and timeline about the modernization of Jefferson Park Federal. Click here to visit and learn more.

The CHA has been working on options to redevelop Jefferson Park Federal since 2016. Jefferson Park Federal is a family development of eight residential buildings with 175 formerly federal public housing units that were built in the early 1950s. The property has been plagued by significant moisture issues in at least 42% of units in the low-rise building, or 57 units in total. These units have living spaces in the basement which suffer from chronically high moisture levels, and several units have had a lengthy history of sewer back-ups caused in part by problems with an ejector pump but also from site’s poor infrastructure system. 

In addition to these conditions, the existing conditions study found significant issues with the building masonry system which are resulting in persistent moisture intrusion to most units. Further, the building systems and finishes installed as part of the property’s last large-scale renovation in 1985 are well beyond their useful life and will need to be full replacement. After years of analysis, investigation, and planning the CHA has determined that it is not feasible to repair these buildings in their current configuration, and that tearing down the existing buildings and construction an all-new development is the best path forward for modernizing this development.

Given these findings, the CHA is proceeding with a plan for the complete redevelopment of Jefferson Park Federal with six all-new sustainable and resilient buildings, better connection with the surrounding neighborhoods, and an increase in the number of deeply affordable apartments for low-income residents on site. In addition, the new development will be Passive House certified with all electric design and rooftop solar panels to minimize operational carbon and reduce energy consumption. Construction is expected to begin in late summer 2022 and last for approximately three years. 

The CHA held several resident meetings throughout 2021 to address the redevelopment and relocation and provide the opportunity for residents to give feedback and ask questions. Open community meetings were held in March 2021, April 2021, and October 2021. 

Here is a look at the second Jefferson Park Federal Neighborhood Community Meeting held on April 1, 2021:

Rehabilitation of Putnam School – estimated $14 million construction

Putnam School Apartments, located at 86 Otis Street in East Cambridge, is a historic schoolhouse built in 1890 that was converted to elder housing by CHA in 1983. It is a 4-story building with 24 one-bedroom apartments and 3 congregate apartments on the fourth floor that each house three residents for a total of 33 units. The site is a small corner lot of 14,400 square feet, with no front setbacks and only small rear yards. The building, which was rehabilitated into housing in 1983, serves low-income elderly and disabled residents, and given the last rehab occurred nearly 40 years ago the building is need of a major refresh. The roof and building envelope need repair and refurbishment, interior finishes are worn and need to be updated, and building systems are not up-to-date and need to replaced. Lastly, the 9 congregate units plus some surplus community space with be redesigned to provide for 9 one-bedroom apartments and 1 two bedroom apartments increasing the unit count at the site by one. The project will be bid in early 2021 with the one-year construction period anticipated to begin in July 2022.

116 Norfolk Street – Comprehensive Modernization and Expansion – $22 million

116 Norfolk Street, located within walking distance of Central Square and bus and subway transit, is a former convent that was converted to congregate elder housing by CHA in the mid-1970’s. It is a 4-story building with 37 congregate apartments with residents sharing common bathrooms and kitchen. The building is located on a lot of 27,111 square feet, allowing for the possible expansion of the building and service program at the site. The building has had only limited upgrades in the forty-five years that the CHA has owned it so extensive, comprehensive modernization to building systems and finishes is required.

CHA is in the early stages of developing plans for the building and site, and recently hired an A/E firm to begin the assessment and design work. The CHA envisions the expansion of the existing service component at the site to allow it to better serve residents, and to potentially expanse services to chronically homeless. CHA anticipates it will be submitting a RAD and Section 18 Blended Application for the existing units, and an application to use its Faircloth authority to provide operating subsidy for any added units proposed for the site to HUD in 2021.

CHA held the second community meeting in the Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) process for 116 Norfolk on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. At the meeting, CHA shared updated landscape designs and discussed traffic mitigation efforts, which include discounted MBTA passes for residents and a screen with live transit updates planned for the lobby. CHA also introduced Eliot Community Human Services, the social services partner that will be providing four full-time onsite case managers at the site after construction as well as training the overnight security who will be onsite seven nights a week. CHA will update community members when this project is scheduled to go before the Planning Board.

Below is the recording of the second 116 Norfolk community meeting held on April 26, 2022.

Revitalization of Corcoran Park

Corcoran Park is a 153-unit family development in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood of Cambridge, and is in need of major renovations. The site has significant drainage issues, and the existing buildings do not meet current building standards or the needs of current residents. CHA is continuing to work with the architectural team and residents to determine the appropriate scope of work for the project. Corcoran Park also presents the opportunity to add additional units to the CHA portfolio. CHA will be proceeding with planning activities in 2021 with the hope of being able to start construction in late 2022 or early 2023.

Roosevelt Towers Redevelopments

There are three distinct projects associated with Roosevelt Towers: 1) comprehensive modernization of the low-rise buildings; 2) gut rehabilitation and addition of the mid-rise building; 3) new units at 155 Willow Street. Construction to renovate the low-rise units started in early 2020 and will be completed in early 2022. CHA hopes to make progress on the two remaining Roosevelt Towers projects during the next 24 months with an eye towards 2022 or 2023 closings for the Mid-Rise project and a 2025 closing for 155 Willow Street project.

  • Roosevelt Towers Mid-Rise – The second component of the Roosevelt Towers redevelopment is the redesign and addition for the existing Roosevelt Towers Mid-Rise building. The project has the potential to add approximately 64 new units to the existing 75 units in the building. The planned renovations and additions would allow for the CHA to relocate the existing elevators to the center of the building and allow all units to be served by two elevators (right now with exception of the units on the 8th floor they are served by only one elevator which is very problematic when the elevator breaks down or needs repairs). The building was last renovated in 1982, and the building systems and finishes are in very poor condition. In addition, some of the building infrastructure, such as heating, plumbing, sanitary and storm piping, is original to when the building was built in the early 1950’s.
  • 155 Willow Street – 155 Willow Street is located on the east side of Willow Street and is currently an under-utilized parking lot with a single stall maintenance garage. CHA has identified this parcel as a location to construct new units. This is an exciting opportunity for the CHA to add hard units to the City’s affordable housing stock, and would be the culmination of CHA’s redevelopment of the parcel.

New Development at 655 Cambridge Street (aka Millers River) – potential of over 100 new units

With the on-going $115 million renovations of Millers River Apartments scheduled to be completed in early 2022, CHA is finalizing opportunities to further develop the site and better integrate the existing tower into the surrounding neighborhood.

CHA has identified the possibility of new development activity to occur in three locations:

  • Possible construction of a 16-story addition to the existing Millers River building
  • Possible construction of a 5 or 6 story free-standing building along Cambridge Street with commercial uses on the ground floor and offices and/or residential uses on the upper floors.
  • Possible construction of some type of residential building with parking along Gore Street.

The available development opportunities at Millers River represents an exciting opportunity to expand affordable housing in Cambridge.

• Putnam School
• 116 Norfolk Street
• Corcoran Park
• Jefferson Park Federal
• Roosevelt Towers Mid-Rise
• New Units at 655 Cambridge Street
• Selective Modernization

Smaller Planning Projects

While a number of larger scale projects are underway, the P+D Department continue to support CHA’s Operations and Maintenance by completing smaller, more routine capital improvement projects.

The projects identified for 2021 to occur by location is provided below:

Development# of Units ImpactedWork ItemEstimated Cost
Manning Apartments205Install security gate on garage$50,000
JFK Apartments69Replace trash compactor$350,000
LBJ Apartments177HVAC Upgrades$225,000
JFK Apartments69HVAC Upgrades$75,000
Manning Apartments205HVAC Upgrades$225,000
Willow Street Homes14Exterior Painting and Siding Repairs$175,000
River HowardNAConstruction of Maintenance Garage$215,000
JP Apartments104Balcony Trim Repairs$400,000
JP Apartments104BDI Antenna160,000
21 Valentine Street6Roof Replacement$55,000
Hingham Street4Selective Exterior Modernization$285,000
Corcoran Park50Exterior Step Repairs$300,000
Washington Elms175Paver and Walkway Upgrade/Repairs$400,000
6-8 Fairmont Street10Stormwater and Parking Lot Upgrade$75,000
Putnam Gardens122Fencing repairs and replacement$200,000
Various Locations as needed Misc. site, interior or exterior upgrades$75,000
Total936 $3,265,000