Drexel Village to transform Nubian Square’s Crescent Parcel into affordable housing, open space

by Liz Hughes

Five years after it launched a planning initiative for Roxbury’s Nubian Square neighborhood, the Boston Planning & Development Agency voted last week to tentatively designate Drexel Village, LLC to develop the Crescent Parcel owned by the agency and MassDOT. 

In response to the community vision laid out in the planning intuitive, the proposal will bring a mixed-use development of affordable housing and community space across the Crescent Parcel and a neighboring parcel owned by the Archdiocese of Boston, as well as parish space for the historic St. Katharine Drexel Church. This property is located at the intersection of Roxbury’s Melnea Cass Boulevard and Tremont Street.

“We are committed to facilitating a future for Crescent Parcel that supports the surrounding community, creating affordable housing and supporting local small businesses,” BPDA Director Brian Golden said in a press release. “We look forward to working with the development team to bring life to the community’s vision.”

Launched in 2016, the Plan: Nubian Square sought to determine if the publicly-owned vacant land could be put to better use and help improve the quality of life of its area residents. Community input came from more than 50 public workshops, community gatherings and meetings. 

The RFP for the plan was released in January and included a requirement that a minimum two-thirds of residential units be targeted toward households with incomes from 60% to 100% of the Area Median Income with the average AMI not to exceed 80%. 

The Drexel Village proposal would bring 217 residential units of which 150 would be income-restricted and will be comprised of large two-, three- and four-bedroom units, along with 31,000 square feet of community space and parish space for St. Katharine Drexel Church. 

Additionally, the proposal will preserve more than an acre of open space and 35 existing trees on the development, as well as planting 65 new trees.

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