High interest in Southie housing complex redevelopment

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
May 4, 2017

Developers are lining up for the chance to remake one of Boston’s biggest and best-located public housing complexes.

Five prominent builders filed proposals with the Boston Housing Authority to redevelop the 27-acre Mary Ellen McCormack complex on Old Colony Avenue in South Boston.

It’s the strongest response yet to the authority’s ambitious campaign to get private developers to shoulder the cost of renovating aging public housing, in exchange for building market-rate units on the grounds. Administrator Bill McGonagle attributed the strong response largely to the McCormack’s location — walkable to two Red Line stops and across from Moakley Park and Carson Beach.

“McCormack sits on a valuable piece of real estate and it’s a very viable development location,” said Bill McGonagle. “We’re pleased that we got very confident, credible developers who are interested in it.”

By contrast, a similar request to rebuild the Mildred C. Hailey Apartments in Jamaica Plain drew only one team of bidders in April; McGonagle said the location of that complex isn’t as ideal as McCormack, and only a limited portion of the grounds was available for redevelopment.

All five bidders for the McCormack job have experience in the affordable housing business. They are: a partnership between Beacon Communities and National Development; Joseph J. Corcoran Co.; Trinity Development; Winn Companies; and a joint venture of Philadelphia-based Pennrose and Hunt Cos., of Texas.

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