EXPANDING SUCCESSFUL AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN CAMBRIDGE 

For more than 20 years, Walden Square has been an example of successful affordable housing in the City of Cambridge, providing 240 high quality apartment homes to individuals and families through three different subsidy programs. Located midway between Porter Square and Fresh Pond in North Cambridge, the community is 100% occupied with a waiting list of more than 900 households.

 

WinnCompanies, the owner and manager of the property, is proposing to build an additional 103 units of affordable family housing on existing, available space on the 7.32-acre site, using a combination of state and local resources to expand housing opportunities for individuals and families in Cambridge.

The Walden Square Phase II project is being pursued under the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) initiative adopted by the Cambridge City Council in October 2020.

 

The AHO is designed to help affordable housing developers create new, permanently affordable homes more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas of the city where there are currently fewer affordable housing opportunities.  

The AHO allows the creation of new, permanently affordable housing that is denser than what might be allowed under base zoning and creates a new review process through which new affordable housing can be approved more efficiently.

 

Under the plan currently under consideration, the 103 new apartments will be available at a range of affordable rents, including dozens of three- and four-bedroom units, as well as apartments for households with mobility impairments and sensory impairments. The two planned new buildings will meet modern environmental standards. 

 

Additional proposed site improvements will create stronger, safer pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, the addition of trees, better landscaping and new bicycle parking.   

The Development Team welcomes input from current residents of Walden Square Apartments and also has held several public comment meetings for abutters and other members of the neighborhood. Community feedback is being used to revise the proposal, where possible, before Planning Board meetings later in 2021 or early 2022.