Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund - not for the A/B neighborhood

Over the past few months the Harvard Allston Task Force spent a lot of time talking about housing in our community. Part of this conversation were questions about what happens with the money that Harvard is required to pay into the Neighborhood Housing Trust fund.

There is an excellent story about this housing fund in today's Globe -
Boston Redevelopment Authority cuts secret deals with developers — at the expense of affordable housing.

Back in 2007 I wrote this post and after reading the Globe article thought I would see how the Neighborhood Housing Trust has been helping people in our part of the City.

For some background, developers are required to pay into this fund $7.87 per square foot of building floor space in excess of 100,000 square feet. So for a 161,000 square foot new building like Harvard's Tata Hall, Harvard pays $480,000 into this fund.

In the last 5 years, only one project in all of Allston/Brighton received funds from this trust. That development was Charing Cross at 1501 Comm Ave which got $500,000 and created 18 affordable units. That's an average of 3 new affordable units per year in A/B due to this Housing Trust Fund.

I hope this program is doing more for other parts of Boston, because while it is collecting millions from A/B developers it certainly isn't producing many results here.

Read the report at

Sixteen Lanes

Did you know that Soliders Field Rd used to end at the Arsenal Street Bridge. As these 1954 maps show, at that point Leo Birmingham Parkway took over and brought cars to the North Beacon St bridge and Nonantum Road.

Now of course we have 4 lanes of Soldiers Field Road running alongside 4 lanes of Birmingham Parkway running alongside 8 lanes of the Mass Pike. 16 lanes! That's a lot of road between Brighton and the river!

Check it out yourself at:

Why you should care about Harvard's Allston extension plans | BDCwire

Why you should care about Harvard's Allston extension plans | BDCwire:

...The plan will radically change the neighborhood. The question that many Allston residents are asking is whether the change will be for the good. Harvard has tried to appease concerned community members by building residential and commercial spaces open to Allston residents, as well as working with a task-force composed of residents to set up a $43 million package to fund various community improvements. The problem is they’ve heard pitches like this before.
A plan submitted by the university in 2007 included a year-round indoor garden, performing arts spaces, and a reflecting pool that could double as a skating rink. All of these amenities had to be cut after the 2008 recession took a big bite out of Harvard’s endowment. Besides, under the current plan, most of the work that would provide direct benefits to current residents will be scheduled to be completed after work is done on the more Harvard-focused developments. Allston residents have every right to be wary that the benefits promised to them will never materialize, or will be scaled down if money gets tight for Harvard sometime in the future.
Like it or not, construction in Allston is starting, and there is not much that young people can do about it. But keep in mind, regardless of what happens, it’s going to be Bostonians our age who, 10 years down the line, will reap the whirlwind if the plan fails, or enjoy the benefits it it succeeds. Personally, I hope the plan delivers on all its promises and Barry’s Corner becomes a more vibrant place that residents and academics can enjoy. Still, 10 years is a long time in urban development and any number of things can happen that will derail development. But if all goes as planned and you make a fortune by building a business at the new Allston innovation space, feel free to take me out for drinks.