North Street: Clarendon Hill

August 21, 2016
North Street: Clarendon Hill

A team comprised of SCC, Gate Residential and Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) has been selected by the Somerville Housing Authority (SHA) to lead the redevelopment of the Clarendon Hill public housing on North Street in West Somerville. Originally built for veterans returning from war in the 1940s, Clarendon Hill has long outlasted its useful life. SHA is pursuing this redevelopment option to bring modern apartments and amenities to the existing residents. 

The POAH-SCC and Gate Residential proposal calls for the redevelopment of the site to preserve and recreate the affordability of the existing apartments and create a residential community that offers housing targeted towards a mix of income ranges, enhanced amenities and better connection to the surrounding neighborhood. The plan involves the development of new market rate units as well as redevelopment of the state-aided public housing units.

Engaging Residents Now

While the entire redevelopment process is expected to take four years or more, the important step of engaging current Clarendon Hill residents and neighbors has just begun. On Thursday, August 17, SHA, SCC and the rest of the development team held a meeting cosponsored by Ward 7 Alderman Katjana Ballantyne to inform the residents of the project and answer any questions or concerns. Participants heard from Paul Mackey of SHA, representatives of each developer including SCC CEO Danny LeBlanc, and from Nancy Ludwig of Icon Architecture who presented the firm’s approach to the design of a revitalized Clarendon Hill development. 

Most importantly, a great deal of the meeting was devoted to hearing from the residents. Questions were raised about a variety of topics including the project timeline and cost of rent and utilities in the new buildings. One issue of paramount concern was the process and expectations for relocating families during the construction process. The development team stressed that it is still early in the process and not all questions can yet be answered. The team will work closely with each family during relocation to ensure their individual needs are addressed. Furthermore, all current residents have a legal right to return to the new building and their rent and utilities will continue to be calculated using the same formula that SHA uses today.  

The community outreach process continues with community-wide meetings scheduled for Wednesday, September 14th and Wednesday, October 19th – both at 6:30 p.m. at the West Somerville Neighborhood School, located at 177 Powderhouse Boulevard.