BHCA Board Asks City to Look at Affordable Housing for 45 Temple Street

The Beacon Hill Civic Association board of directors voted unanimously at its virtual May 10 meeting to send a letter to the city regarding how the developer of The Archer Residences, a luxury-condo complex at 45 Temple St., is fulfilling its affordable obligation for the project.

Rob Whitney, board chair, said a group of Hancock Street residents had recently sent a “petition” to Acting Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilors Kenzie Bok and Ed Flynn, as well as all of the at-large city councilors, regarding how developer, JDMD, LLC, is satisfying its Article 80 housing obligation with the city for large-scale development projects for The Archer, which was built in 2019 and comprises 64 one, two- and three-bedrooms and penthouse units.

Since the Archer development contains 126,663 square feet of residential space, JDMD is obligated to provide around 19,000 square feet of affordable housing per the city’s affordable housing policy, so the developer bought a former rooming house at 27-29 Hancock St., which comprises more than 12,000 square feet, to convert into affordable housing to satisfy this requirement. JDMD also has agreed to make a minimum contribution of $680,000 in three installments to the city’s affordable housing fund to compensate for the remaining 6,663 square feet of residential space.

Like the petition sent by some Hancock Street residents to city officials, the Civic Association board’s letter would request that JDMD not fulfill its affordable housing obligation at 27-29 Hancock St., as was proposed, said Whitney, by creating 39 Single Rate Occupancy (SRO) units, which typically don’t have their own restrooms or kitchens, and could each be as small as 150 square feet.

Instead, the Civic Association board and neighbors who petitioned the city would like to see the space at 27-29 Hancock St. converted into a fewer number of larger studios, one-, two- and three-unit dwellings with their own private amenities in an effort to attract more families to the neighborhood.

The Civic Association board would also request that a nonprofit residential management company, like Rogerson Communities, which manages Beacon House, the Peter Faneuil House and Joy Street Residences, among other properties, be enlisted to oversee residential operations at 27-29 Hancock St., said Whitney, who was a member of the Civic Association’s Ad Hoc Committee on 45 Temple St., as well as a member of the city’s Impact Advisory Group for the project.

Additionally, the Civic Association board is requesting that the $195,000 JDMD has already donated to the city’s affordable housing fund, as well as the developer’s remaining balance of $485,000, be earmarked for the suggested renovations to the Hancock Street property, said Whitney.

In early April, Councilor Flynn also sponsored a meeting at the request of Hancock Street residents to discuss this matter.

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