Former TND Director Ann Houston to Depart, become CEO of Merged Non-Profit

Former TND Director Ann Houston to Depart, become CEO of Merged Non-Profit

The Neighborhood Developers (TND) announced this week in a release ahead of its 40th Anniversary celebration that long-time Executive Director Ann Houston will be departing to become the new CEO of a new, merged community development corporation.

“TND will honor outgoing Executive Director Ann Houston as she takes on the new role of CEO of Opportunity Communities, where she will continue to provide leadership and vision to TND through this exciting new partnership,” read the announcement.

Houston was not immediately available for comment on the move.

TND declined to comment on the matter as well this week.

The announcement indicated Houston would be the new CEO of Opportunity Communities.

That new collaboration is with Roxbury’s Nuestra Communidad Community Development Corporation (CDC), a partnership between that organization and TND that launched in April.

“In April 2018, we launched a company for back office operations known as Opportunity Communities (OppCo) with a sister organization, The Neighbor Developers (TND), based in Chelsea,” read the website for the new partnership. “This is our newest partnership, designed to achieve better results for the Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods we serve. There is no change to Nuestra’s board, staff, leadership, mission, office, programs, projects, agreements, relationships and commitments to neighbors and local stakeholders.

“This new company allows Nuestra and TND to combine our back office operations and staff,” it continued. “By centralizing our accounting, purchasing, data collection, HR, IT and other management functions, Nuestra can most efficiently deliver high-quality, effective services and programs for Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan.”

Houston has been the face of TND since it planted its flag in the Box District many years ago and built out several blocks of what used to be derelict industrial properties. Using a formula of creating civic awareness in a mixed-income development of subsidized and market-rate housing, TND created a successful model in the Box District.

Since that time, they have developed other properties in Chelsea, including the old American Legion Post that houses homeless veterans in supportive housing. They are currently developing the old French Club into affordable housing.

In year’s past, TND moved into Revere to develop affordable and senior housing there. It has just expanded to Everett, where a proposal is on the table for a large senior housing development there on the former site of St. Therese’s Church campus.

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Gertrude Bial, Longtime Chelsea Resident, Dies at the Age of 94

Gertrude Bial, Longtime Chelsea Resident, Dies at the Age of 94

Gertrude (Florence) Bial of Delray Beach, Florida, formerly of Chelsea, entered into rest on Jan. 30, 2018. She was 94 years old.

Gertrude (Florence) Bial.

Gertrude (Florence) Bial.

Born in Chelsea, Mrs. Bial was the daughter of the late Myer Israel and the late Fannie (Raisman) Florence.

She graduated from Chelsea High School Class of 1941 and later attended Fisher College and Secretarial School.

During WWII, she worked as a volunteer at the Naval Ship Yard.

She was president of B’nai Brith in Chelsea, executive secretary at American Biltrite Corporation and co-owner of the Bial Upholstery Company in Boston, with her late husband, Norman Bial.

She is the devoted mother of Louis C. Bial and his late wife Deborah, Roberta Pinta and her late husband Howard, and Scott N. Bial and his wife Lisa, the cherished grandmother of Dr. Erica Bial and her husband Todd Chapin, Lauren Bial Sch­neider and her husband Eric, Matthew Bial and his wife Dr. Wendy Glaberson, Jennifer Pinta, Natalie Pinta and her husband Kevin Gonsalves, Adam J. Bial, Jason R. Bial, Jack F. Bial and Julia A. Bial, and great grandmother of Jacob, Nehemiah and Dayne Schneider and Jordan Bial. Loving sister of David Flor­ence, Rosalie Cohen and the late Sylvia Sazinsky, Bernard Florence, Dr. Lewis Florence, Dr. Hyman Florence and Leonard Florence.

Funeral services will be held at Stanetsky Memorial Chapel, Canton, on Friday, February 2, 2018.

Expressions of sym­pathy in her memory may be donated to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, www.themmrf.org, or Autism Speaks, www.autismspeaks.org/site/donation.

Mrs. Bial was a homemaker, a wonderful friend, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be greatly missed.

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Eastern Salt Gets Lukewarm Reception for Plan to Expand into Eastie

By John Lynds

At a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) sponsored meeting on Monday night in East Boston, three proposals to develop the former Hess site on Condor Street along the Chelsea Creek were pitched to the East Boston community.

One of those proposals came from Chelsea’s Eastern Salt Company, which said it was looking to expand its operations across the McArdle Bridge to East Boston.

The industrial parcel of land that once housed storage tanks for Hess Oil is zoned as a Designated Port Area (DPA) so a majority of the activity at the site needs to be marine industrial use.

Three developers, City Wide Organics, the East Boston Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the Eastern Salt Company from Chelsea, put together solid maritime focused uses with community benefits, but the crowd seemed to be leaning towards the CDC proposal.

The Eastern Salt proposal, which got a lukewarm reception from residents of Eastie, was to place a ‘buffer’ salt pile, like the company has across the Meridian Street Bridge in Chelsea, on the Hess Site.

The salt would be barged over from Chelsea and distributed around the region during winter storms. While Eastern Salt did have community benefits like a harbor walk and outdoor green space, it was the fact that the property could generate 40 to 50 truck trips per day during the height of winter storm activity that had many really concerned.

Despite Eastern Salt’s best efforts to win the crowd over with community benefits, many residents on Eagle Hill said they did not want to look down on a 50-foot pile of salt all year long.

City Wide Organics submitted a proposal to convert the property into a organic waste recycling plant that will convert waste into renewable energy and fertilizer. They also plan to create public outdoor space around the perimeter of the plant much like the MWRA Deer Island facility in Winthrop.

The CDC proposal was pitched its director, Al Caldarelli. He said his proposal would limit traffic, cause no odor and create jobs in the community. The CDC plans to build three buildings as well as a tot lot park, harbor walk and dog park as community benefits. The three buildings would house three longstanding Eastie businesses. These businesses include John Zirpolo’s Cora Group, an expansion of Dan Noonan’s already successful shipyard and marina on Marginal Street and Peter Merullo’s Semper Diving and Marine. All three businesses have roots in marine industrial use.

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One North of Boston Dedicates Gym in Francis Cronin’s Honor

On June 8 2016, One North of Boston, a luxury apartment complex in Chelsea, MA, invited members of their community and team to witness the unveiling of their completed gymnasium, dedicated to the memory of Francis Cronin. One North is managed by Redgate Real Estate Advisors and is owned in a Joint Venture between TransDel Corporation and Gate Residential Properties.

Left to Right: TransDel partner/owner Mark White, Cronin’s wife Judy Smith Cronin, Callahan President Patrick Callahan, and Redgate Principal Kyle Warwick.

Left to Right: TransDel partner/owner Mark White, Cronin’s wife Judy Smith Cronin, Callahan President Patrick Callahan,
and Redgate Principal Kyle Warwick.

Kyle Warwick, Principal of Gate Residential, proceeded to lead a tour throughout the property, noting memorable designs and milestones that Cronin had accomplished during the development of One North.

A former Harvard graduate and beloved athlete, Cronin was a superintendent at Callahan Construction Managers, working with Gate Residential and TransDel Corp., to accomplish the design and construction of the complex.

In attendance, was Cronin’s wife Judy Smith Cronin along with their daughters Hannah, Mariah and Kim whom received $10,000 from the One North team to put towards college tuition. Members of Redgate Real Estate Advisors, Callahan Construction, and the One North Boston Team presented a plaque in his honor, placed on the entrance of the gymnasium.

Apart from the dedication of the gymnasium, there will also be a scholarship in Cronin’s name that can be donated to through the Dartmouth High School Guidance Department.

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Rehabbing The Housing Stock:City Officials Announce New Program Earmarked For Shurtleff/bellingham and Addison-orange Areas

A new City program that offers financial services to eligible owners of 1 to 4 unit residential buildings will launch in Shurtleff-Bellingham and Addison-Orange census tracts as part of the Community Development Block Grant activities in these neighborhoods that are underway.

This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) Program.

Currently being piloted in Shurtleff-Bellingham and Addison-Orange, the program provides deferred-payment loans to eligible applicants for qualified housing rehabilitation work to bring properties into code compliance and eliminate violations that threaten the health and safety of building occupants. The City incorporated this program in its CDBG grant to support the efforts of the code enforcement activities being carried out by the Chelsea Department of Inspectional Services, specifically related to housing inspections necessary under the changes to the City’s Certificate of Habitability Ordinance in 2014 that require inspections of rental units to be at least once every five years, in addition to the requirement already in place for inspection prior to re- occupancy with new tenants. Housing units must meet the minimum standards in Chapter II of the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code.

The Housing Rehabilitation Program requires that applicants or eligible tenants be income- qualified and that rental units assisted by the program be rented to low- and moderate income households at affordable rent levels for the term of 15 years. Funds must be allocated in the targeted areas identified in the CDBG grant, and may be used to correct health and safety hazards; code violations; serious building maintenance deficiencies, deteriorated roofs, structural deficiencies.

The state granted a total amount of $200,000 that would be able to serve up to 10 housing units with a maximum assistance of $20,000 per unit. Program staff will work with applicants to try to identify other private or public sources of funding for necessary repairs. The program is administered by the Chelsea Restoration Corporation on behalf of the City and applications are received in a rolling basis. For applications or to get more information on eligibility requirements, please contact Marilyn Garcia, Chelsea Restoration Program, at (617) 889-2277, mgarcia@chelsearestoration.org or David Guzman, Chelsea Department of Planning & Development, at (617) 466-4186.

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Neighborhood Developers, Winner of 2014 ULI Award

Neighborhood Developers, Winner of 2014 ULI Award

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing has selected The Neighborhood Developers’ (TND) Box District as a winner of this year’s Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award.

ULI’s Terwilliger Center celebrates and promotes the exemplary efforts of real estate and public policy leaders from across the country who are working to expand affordable and workforce housing opportunities. The award was delivered in New York at ULI’s national conference.

The Box District includes 248 new mixed-income apartments and condominiums plus a new park that transformed a former blighted industrial site in Chelsea using a mix of new construction, adaptive reuse of old factories and modular building methods. The redevelopment of the Box District, now a smart growth district that will soon be home to a new Silver Line transit stop, is a result of long-term collaboration between The Neighborhood Developers, Mitchell Properties, and the City of Chelsea. The phased development began with The Neighborhood Developer’s purchase of a vacant factory in the district in 2006.

Prior to TND’s investment in creating the new neighborhood, as box and mattress manufacturers shut down or relocated, the industrial area, near the heart of downtown Chelsea, lay dormant. Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, a native of Chelsea, often recalls how his mother wouldn’t let him play in the area due to safety concerns. Today many children play in the Box District’s new public park.

The project has benefitted from a series of state initiatives designed to spur redevelopment; including most recently the Housing Development Investment Program to spur market rate housing, coupled with a new Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation loan program that encourages Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Since the opening of the first apartments in 2008, rental apartments and condos have filled up in spite of a stalled housing market, and the first market-rate development, Atlas Lofts, reached full occupancy a year ahead of schedule. After full build out later this year, 51 percent of the new homes will be market rate, at rent levels previously unheard of for this neighborhood.

The ULI is a global nonprofit education and research institute.

TND’s Ann Houston stated, “We’re incredibly humbled to receive this award from the ULI. Each Box District partner brought skills and resources to the project and a shared vision for the area’s revitalization. That vision saw us through a good number of challenges including the 2008 housing downturn. We’ve made huge inroads into improving the safety, mixed-income housing availability, green space, and public amenities to what was once abandoned part of the city. This neighborhood has helped to set a new standard for Chelsea, and we’re proud to lead the charge.”

The Neighborhood Developers received the ULI award just one week after hosting Federal Reserve Chair Yellen at their offices in Chelsea.

Founded in 1979, TND spent the first 25 years developing great, affordable places to live in Chelsea. In 2006, TND expanded its emphasis from solely building affordable homes to building vital neighborhoods, focusing on both the people and the place. Its programs are delivered in Chelsea and Revere.

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Good Luck, Gene

Good Luck, Gene

Chelsea has always been fortunate to have some great Representatives in the General Court of Massachusetts.  For more than 20 years until 1996, Chelsea voters had Richie Voke representing them at the House Chamber.  Richie was a master of bringing home the grants for Chelsea.

But as in life, Richie decided not to seek re-election in 1996 and in stepped Gene O’Flaherty, a relatively unknown and untried office holder.  With the help of his family and especially his father John, Gene won the primary and election.

Gene learned the House rules quickly and just as quickly started to distinguish himself at the  State House.  Gene rose just as quickly through the ranks and became Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary a position that he has held for more than a decade.

Gene has become a fixture in Chelsea attending the many public events where he met the residents and learned their concerns that he brought back to the State House.

Gene’s respect from his colleagues is clearly seen when he was tapped by newly elected Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, a State Representative from Dorchester, to have Gene lead the important Corporation Counsel for the City of Boston.

Chelsea will be losing a lot of clout when Gene steps down.  For more than 18 years, he has brought many of the state grants back to Chelsea that has help transform out City.

We wish Gene and his wife Tricia much success in the years to come.

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