Hudson Street reclaimed
By Angie Liou, Asian Community Development Corporation
Asian Community Development Corporation has consistently engaged the community for the past 12 years on the development of Parcel 24. This September, fencing was erected around the sliver of land at Hudson and Kneeland streets and sitework has begun. In 2015, this corner will be home to 295 households, 95 of whom will be low-income families.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Parcel 24 was a part of the vibrant street life on Hudson Street. Former residents reminisce vividly about life in this mostly Chinese, Syrian and Lebanese neighborhood, where kids played games in the street, fathers worked in nearby restaurants and mothers kept an eye out on one another’s children. All that changed when the entire east side of Hudson Street from Kneeland Street to Tai Tung Village was cleared by eminent domain to make way for highways. More than 300 families were displaced with little notice and compensation, and the once tightly knit network of neighbors and friends was torn apart.
Then in 2002, as the Central Artery project neared completion and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (now the Massachusetts Department of Transportation) announced that this piece of land — which for 40 years was blocked off by a tall concrete wall for the highway on-ramp — would become available for development. Five community organizations — the Chinatown Resident Association, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, the Chinese Progressive Association, the Chinese Economic Development Council and ACDC — came together to form the Hudson Street for Chinatown Coalition to advocate for the return of this land, Parcel 24, to the community. For two years, the HSC organized community forums and design charrettes, galvanizing current and former residents with the vision of returning this land to Chinatown. The community agreed that this site should have significant amount of affordable housing, as well as community gathering space and outdoor open space. After a long campaign by HSC, MassDOT and the city of Boston came to accept the community vision, and incorporated goals and priorities from that vision into the request for proposals the MassDOT released for Parcel 24.
The project that ultimately grew out of the HSC vision is One Greenway. The first phase will create 217 market-rate apartments and 95 affordable apartments, ground floor commercial and community spaces, and a terraced open space with pedestrian access to Albany Street and South Station. The second phase will create a 6-story building of 50 affordable homeownership units at the southern end of the site. Overall, 40 percent of One Greenway’s units will be affordable, which is significantly more than any other project under development in Chinatown. The density and height of this project will allow a large diverse population of all incomes, many of whom are families, the opportunity to live in downtown Boston, and restore the vibrancy to Hudson Street that it once had nearly 50 years ago. This is a testament to what the community can achieve together, when our voices are heard loud and clear.
This post is also available in: Chinese