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 nearly 1,000 households.
WinnCompanies, the owner and manager of the property, is proposing to build an additional 95 units of affordable family housing in two buildings 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 current plan, the 95 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, new bicycle parking, enhanced green open space and improved amenities for the community.
Throughout the pre-development process, WinnDevelopment has welcomed input from current residents of Walden Square Apartments, abutters of the property, neighbors and city officials. Community feedback has been important in improving the proposal. It is expected to be formally submitted to the Planning Board for consideration later this summer.