Preservation of Affordable Housing and Caste Capital proposed 119 units of affordable housing in a 12-story, $115 million, mass timber-framed building designed by MASS Design Group to Passive House standards. Image courtesy of MASS Design Group and The Architectural Team

A Boston nonprofit developer was picked to construct 119 affordable housing units and a new library branch in Boston’s West End.

Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), in partnership with Caste Capital, submitted the preferred proposal and was granted the tentative developer designation, Mayor Michelle Wu announced today.

The renovation will include a new 2-story library that’s 70 percent larger than the current 13,000-square-foot branch built in 1968, and a mass timber-framed tower above containing 119 housing units.

The city received eight responses to a request for proposals to add housing to the property. The POAH-Caste Capital team was selected by the Public Facilities Commission because of its experience in sustainable and community-based projects, the administration said in an announcement.

Charlestown-based Caste Capital was founded in 2021 by Patrick Kimble, an executive at The Davis Cos.

Of the 119 residences, 40 apartments will be affordable to households earning up to 30 percent of area median income (AMI), and 79 apartments will be designated for households earning up to 80 percent of AMI. The Boston Housing Authority is providing subsidies for 20 of the most deeply affordable units through a pool of around 2,500 new units it can subsidize before it hits a federal cap on the number of homes it can have in its portfolio.

“The new development at 151 Cambridge St. will be a community resource, underpinned by a re-envisioned library and a sustainable, intergenerational affordable housing community,” POAH CEO Aaron Gornstein said in a statement.

In statements provided by Wu’s office, the heads of the Beacon Hill Civic Association and the West End Civic Association also praised the development, noting both groups supported the POAH project.

In April, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Boston Public Library sought proposals to expand the library property on Cambridge Street with affordable housing. The city offered the property through a 99-year ground lease, and sought minimum prices of $14.64 per square foot of developed floor area.

The West End project is an outgrowth of the Housing With Public Assets initiative. The program launched in 2018 with a study that identified 83 properties ranging from parking garages to fire stations that could support housing construction.

City Picks Mass Timber Design for West End Library Affordable Tower

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min