Ashmont Tire site developers clear funding hurdle, eye ’17 opening

A rendering of the Ashmont Tire development. Courtesy the architectural teamA rendering of the Ashmont Tire development. Courtesy the architectural teamThe developers of a six-story mixed-use project proposed for Dorchester Avenue on the current site of Ashmont Tire have their funding in place and will now move ahead on marketing and construction, a spokesman for the builders said this week.

Trinity Financial, which developed the Carruth building across the street, is looking to finish its transit-oriented project next year.

MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance agency, has issued Trinity a $15,323,000 tax-exempt bond, which was bought by Boston Private Bank. The Department of Housing and Community Development also approved federal low-income housing tax credits that will provide about $11.3 million in equity for the project, according to a MassDevelopment release on Monday.

“Trinity Financial has successfully developed transit-oriented projects in both Boston and Gateway Cities, and we’re pleased to work with the company on this transaction and others across Massachusetts,” said MassDevelopment president and CEO Marty Jones in the release. “Tackling housing affordability issues takes creativity and dedication, and I appreciate Trinity’s approach to this challenge with its latest project.”

In August 2014, The Trinity Ashmont Two Limited Partnership proposed an 81-unit building with about 4,000 square feet of retail. It has increased the housing estimate slightly in the meantime, adding two units for a total of 83, said spokesman Matt Zahler, that are split into 51 affordable rental units available to those earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. On the top two floors are 28 market-rate rental units and four affordable condos, financed outside of the bond.

About 5,000 square feet of retail space is planned for the building’s ground level, with a 30-car parking area below, said Zahler. “It’s going to be a great project, a newly minted street space. It will bring some new, lively neighborhood retail to that block, and we’ve got great amenities in the building,” among them, Zahler said, a small 1,400 square foot roof deck, green space, and a pet-friendly policy in a LEED-certified structure.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority signed off on the project last year. “As far as we’re concerned, that’s a great project and we’re excited to see phase two start,” said BRA spokesman Nicholas Martin.
Zhaler estimated that construction will get underway in about 15-16 months after a rollout of marketing and branding efforts, including the naming of the sleek structure, which for now is called Ashmont TOD2.

State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, said the project team members “are Dorchester guys who really know about the community.” Equally as important, the team was the right fit because “the work they’ve done had always been quality work,” Forry said.

“We know Trinity is about quality, but they also respect the community,” said Forry, who is married to Reporter editor Bill Forry. “They know the people, and if folks have an issue with height or density, they know to listen.”

The Carruth building across the avenue was an innovative, transit-oriented, mixed-income housing development that rehabilitated a blighted lot when it opened in 2008. City and state officials say they saw the potential for similar workmanship and neighborhood consciousness in the new project.

Zahler noted that Forry and state Rep. Dan Cullinane were among the most proactive politicians to push for the project. For her part, Forry said, “When we went to make the argument for them to the state... it was just really talking about what this project will contribute to the community in Dorchester.”

Construction will hopefully start in February, Zahler said.
The units will be a combination of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedrooms. Pre-sales will begin soon, Zahler said, asking that potential buyers contact him. Though affordable housing rental rates are set, it’s estimated the market-rate units will go for about $350,000, he said.