The community development corporation Vietnamese American Initiative for Development (Viet-AID) received funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to create 35 units of family housing and approximately 3,000 square feet of commercial space in Dorchester's Four Corners neighborhood. Governor Deval Patrick made the funding announcement in late March that Viet-AID's project was one of sixteen projects in Massachusetts to be funded with the goal of starting construction this year.
The development plan includes two buildings: one 3-story building at 331-337 Washington Street and one 4-story building at 322-336 Washington Street. Both buildings will have first floor commercial and community space, with rental units on the upper floors. The project site includes 9 city lots for which Viet-AID has been designated as the developer by the City of Boston and one private lot that Viet-AID purchased earlier this year. "We are excited to see underutilized land in the Fairmount Corridor converted into sustainable, affordable housing," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
"The project aligns with Viet-AID's vision to build strong, vibrant, and diverse communities; to provide affordable quality housing; facilitate access to decent paying jobs; and strengthen neighborhood businesses. It also fits with Viet-AID's Transit Oriented Design strategy to building affordable, energy efficient, healthy homes close to transit options," said Nam Pham, Executive Director of Viet-AID.
The project will produce 35 new, much-needed affordable housing units; provide commercial space that will support local and minority businesses; expand the customer base for existing businesses; and contribute to the ongoing neighborhood revitalization efforts undertaken by the City, the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, Four Corners Main Street, and the members of the Fairmount Collaborative. "We are pleased that the State is supporting this important mixed use development in the Four Corners neighborhood," said Theresa Gallagher, Deputy Director of Housing at the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development. "Viet-AID has worked really hard with the community to come up with a great development on City-owned land that will enhance the neighborhood. We are excited to see it move forward into development."
Viet-AID's funding application to the State was accompanied by strong support from the Department of Neighborhood Development, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and from the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC). Besides the 9 City-owned parcels included in the project area, the City has awarded funds to the project. In addition, CEDAC provided an acquisition loan for the purchase of the private lot and predevelopment assistance in order to bring the project to a successful and timely construction start date.
Viet-AID's team is working towards achieving a construction start date by the end of 2014 and a project completion date at the beginning of 2016.