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Housing Competition Celebrates 15 Years

By Tobi Goldberg

Citizens' Housing and Planning Association recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Greater Boston Affordable Housing Development Competition with a breakfast forum highlighting innovative affordable-housing proposals by participants in the 2015 competition.

CHAPA forumThe event promoted the work of the first- and second-place teams and introduced the program to a broader audience of affordable housing practitioners.

Kenneth Willis, first vice president and director of Housing and Community Investment at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and Ed Marchant, adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, provided an overview of the competition.

This year's participants and their developer partners provided in-depth presentations of their winning housing proposals and an interactive conversation with the audience.

The second-place Morton Crossing team outlined a plan to create 35 units of affordable, workforce family housing near the Fairmont/Indigo commuter line on the Dorchester-Mattapan border. The proposal incorporates commercial space, economic opportunity, and a wooded serenity garden.

The team was comprised of students from Northeastern University and Boston Architectural College. The developer partner was the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, represented by project manager Vitalia Shklovsky.

The first-place Zakim House team outlined a proposal to create 150 units of new housing for seniors on the Gosman Community Campus in Newton, Massachusetts. The site is adjacent to Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly's 146-unit Coleman House and the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Housing. The students discussed their innovative strategy to provide 90 low-income units, 15 moderate-income units, and 45 market-rate units, all with access to high-quality programing and on-site amenities.

The Zakim team was comprised of Harvard University and MIT students. The developer partner was Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, represented by Tabetha McCartney, manager of development finance and sustainability; and Alexis Smith, Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow.

David Rockwell, director of lending at the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, said the competition serves as a model for recruiting young talent and accessing the innovative, thoughtful, and comprehensive approach to development of the next generation of housing designers and developers.

For more information on the competition and to view the students' proposals, please go to the competition homepage.

Tobi Goldberg is senior community investment manager at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.