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Officials break ground on Orient Heights redevelopment

City and state officials gathered at the Orient Heights public housing community in East Boston on Wednesday to break ground on a redevelopment initiative. The first phase will include demolishing four buildings — about 90 units — and replacing them with 120 units, according to a statement from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

The broader project will ultimately replace all 331 state-aided public housings units with 373 new, mixed-income units, officials said. The Boston Housing Authority operates the Orient Heights community.

“Every resident in Massachusetts deserves the opportunity to live in housing that is safe, affordable, and modernized, and redeveloping Orient Heights is an important step forward for this community,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement.


The development was built in the 1950s and hasn’t been renovated since the 1990s, officials said. The housing authority recently identified it as obsolete.

The new project will include midrise and townhouse buildings, officials said. It is being paid for with $33 million in subsidies form the state Department of Housing and Community Development, officials said.

The City of Boston is contributing $1 million in subsidies.

“This public housing facility has been the home of many families for decades, and I am proud that with the support of our state and federal partners, we are revitalizing current facilities, while creating new living spaces for future residents,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said.

Dylan McGuinness can be reached at