Image courtesy of CBT Architects

Redevelopment of the Mary Ellen McCormack public housing complex will add market-rate housing, larger community meeting space and buildings with a mix of architectural styles replacing the brick barracks-like complex in South Boston.

CBT Architects is leading the master plan for the $2.5 billion project, the first phase of which will span 18 of the property’s 31 acres. Boston-based WinnCompanies began its Boston Planning & Development Agency permitting yesterday following a multi-year community outreach process.

During the community meetings, residents asked developers to take safety concerns into account when redesigning the buildings and public areas.

“We’re limiting the number of entries and exits into the buildings, and eliminating the dark, unlit, un-activated courtyards so there’s safety through design,” said Andrew Colbert, senior project director for WinnCompanies.

Residents also requested the plans incorporate robust community programming and services. The decommissioned boiler plant was identified as an opportunity to create a central gathering spot. It will be redeveloped as 25,000 square feet of meeting, education and program space for residents of the complex and surrounding neighborhood. Timing of the construction is subject to funding, Colbert said, but could begin early in the first phase.

Individual buildings will be designed by different architects, including two of the first three by CBT and the third by The Architectural Team of Chelsea. Architects designed the new buildings to maximize connections to the neighboring Moakley Park – the site of a planned renovation and resiliency project – and surrounding street, bicycle and public transit networks, said Kishore Varanasi, a principal at CBT.

“The housing was designed back in the day as an inward-looking project. If you go in there, you can get lost in circles,” Varanasi said. “One of the things that was important to the city is to open it up and make meaningful connections around Andrew Square and Moakley Park.”

All 1,016 existing low-income units will be replaced over more than a decade, as buildings are demolished and replaced by eight new residential buildings containing both market-rate and income-restricted units.

The first $1 billion phase will include 1,370 apartments, including 572 affordable, 200 middle-income and 600 market-rate units. The first phase creates 2.3 acres of open space and includes 3.7 acres of public improvements including construction of new sidewalks and plazas.

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is WinnDevelopment’s financial partner on the first phase, which is expected to span eight to 10 years. Approximately 30 percent of the project costs will come from public subsidies including low-income tax credits, Colbert said.

McCormack Redevelopment Would Rebuild, Expand 18-Acre Boston Complex

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min