The City of Boston and Vietaid Celebrate the Grand Opening of 191-195 Bowdoin Street

Groundbreaking marked the opening of 41 new mixed-income rental housing units and commercial spaces

On September 19, 2022, Boston city officials joined the Vietnamese American Development Initiative (VietAID), Trinity Management, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, MassDevelopment, Eastern Bank, local and state officials , along with residents and commercial tenants to celebrate the grand opening of 41 new low-income rental units and over 6,000 square feet of retail space on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester. The more than $20 million project, developed by VietAID, created new rental housing units for families earning 60% or less of the regional median income (AMI).

“It is wonderful to celebrate the inauguration of 195 Bowdoin Street, which has transformed a critical corner of Geneva’s Bowdoin district. This new development, which combined land formerly owned by the City and a former auto shop, is now turned into 41 badly needed homes and a long-awaited food co-op,” the city of Boston said. Housing Manager, Sheila Dillon. “And this development is accessible to the Fairmont Line. I expect 195 Bowdoin to become a focal point in this neighborhood, not only providing new housing and fresh food options for the neighborhood, but also bringing new foot traffic to local businesses impacted by the pandemic. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this project a reality.

The site was once made up of two plots, housing a gas station and a tire store, which sat vacant for many years and was acquired by VietAID. The new apartments are less than 400 meters from the Four Corners/Genève stop on the Fairmount line and several bus lines. The four-story building with commercial and community space on the first floor features thirteen one-bedroom, twenty-three two-bedroom and five three-bedroom units for residents earning no more than 60% of the area’s median income (FRIEND). The project provides new housing for five previously homeless families. The scheme also includes an outdoor plaza, where Topliff Street meets Bowdoin, which is designed as a neighborhood focal point and will provide opportunities for the community to come together.

Lisette Thethe Executive Director of VietAIDsaid, “VietAID is very proud to be able to offer these 41 affordable apartments to active families in Dorchester and to make a lasting contribution to the fabric of the Bowdoin Street neighborhood. We are also very pleased to be partnered with the Dorchester Food Co-op as a commercial tenant and look forward to the improvements they will make to the commercial district. We look forward to continuing and deepening our relationships with Bowdoin-Genève’s neighbors and stakeholders as we manage and nurture this property for years to come.

The building also contains over 6,000 square feet of retail space, which will house the Dorchester Food Co-op as a retail tenant. The Co-op (DFC) is a local initiative to build a community and worker-owned grocery store that will make healthy food accessible and advance economic opportunity through neighborhood engagement and increase the availability of food options healthy and affordable in the neighborhood. DFC is preparing to build the store space and expects to begin operations within eight months. The DFC store will enliven the corner of Bowdoin and Topliff Streets and help strengthen existing businesses in the neighborhood.

Funding for the rental housing development of over $20 million was made possible through various funding sources, including $1.76 million from the City of Boston Mayor’s Housing Office and $750,000 from Neighborhood Housing TrustFund. Additionally, the project received federal and state tax credits and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development contributed over $4 million in funding. The MassDevelopment Brownfields Fund funded the environmental rehabilitation of plot 195 Bowdoin. Eastern Bank provided permanent and construction financing, and tax credits were provided by the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) and Dorfman Capital.

In keeping with the City of Boston’s Green Affordable Housing Program, the building employed several green building design techniques, earning it the distinction of being LEED-Homes Silver certified by the US Green Building Council.

About the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH)

The Mayor’s Housing Office is responsible for housing people who are homeless, creating and preserving affordable housing, and ensuring that tenants and landlords can obtain, maintain and remain in safe and stable housing. The department develops and implements the City of Boston’s housing creation and homelessness prevention plans and works with local and national partners to find new solutions and build more affordable housing for all, especially for low-income people. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health website.

About VietAID

The Vietnamese American Development Initiative (VietAID) was founded in 1994 by members of the Vietnamese American community in Dorchester, to provide comprehensive economic development programs and services aimed at reducing poverty and advancing civic participation in their neighborhood. Since then, VietAID’s mission and objectives have expanded to focus on building strong and vibrant neighborhoods throughout Dorchester by promoting civic engagement and community development; develop affordable housing and commercial spaces; provide technical assistance to small enterprises and micro-enterprise development; provide high quality child care and after-school programs; and developing community youth leadership.

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