City officials have approved construction of a high-rise building in Chinatown that will bring 168 income-restricted apartments and condos to a part of the city where working-class residents are being pushed out by Boston’s real estate boom.
The Boston Planning & Development Agency board late Thursday OK’d plans for a 350-foot tower on a Tremont Street parking lot, a city-owned site that has been earmarked for affordable housing. Downtown development veterans Millennium Partners will work with Asian Community Development Corp., Boston-based Corcoran Jennison Co., and Tufts University on the complex project, which along with the affordable housing will include a 200-room hotel and a 340-space parking garage for nearby Tufts Medical Center.
Most of the housing — which will be split between about two-thirds rental and one-third owner-occupied ― is being funded by Millennium through affordable housing requirements connected with the Winthrop Center skyscraper it’s building on the site of the Winthrop Square Garage. The city last week also awarded $7 million in housing funds for the project to Asian CDC.
Under a city pilot program, residents who live near the new building will be given preference in a lottery for the units. The developers hope that approach will help blunt the forces pushing many working-class Chinese residents out of the neighborhood as development booms around it.
“We look forward to creating more permanent homes for low- and moderate-income families so they can stay and thrive in Chinatown and preserve this historic ethnic community,” said Asian CDC executive director Angie Liou. “Our immigrant families need to stay close to Chinatown in order to access critical services and jobs.”
The building could also house a permanent home for the Chinatown branch of the Boston Public Library. Developers agreed to set aside 8,000 square feet of community space in the ground floor that they “anticipate” will hold the library, though no final decisions have been made.