EXPANDING SUCCESSFUL AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN CAMBRIDGE
View from Richdale Avenue
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.
The proposed building will be built on a podium over the existing driving aisle on the north of the development site. The ground level will be open air and preserve the current drive aisle while reconfiguring the parking to maximize new head-in spaces.
The new apartments will be available at a range of affordable rents. Forty four (44) of the new apartments will be three- and four-bedroom units suitable for families. The building will meet modern environmental standards and will be completely accessible. Six units will be set aside for households with mobility impairments and three additional units will be set aside for households with sensory impairments.
During construction, the proposed site improvements will create stronger, safer pedestrian and bicycle connectivity between Raymond Street, the Yerxa Underpass, Bolton Street and Sherman Street. Improvements also will be made to the Walden Square property itself, including the addition of trees, better landscaping, new bicycle parking and new parking spaces
The Development Team welcomes input from current residents of Walden Square Apartments and also has held two public comment meetings for abutters and other members of the neighborhood. Community feedback will be used to revise the proposal, where possible, before Planning Board meetings this summer.