Mass+Main Increases Affordable Housing

505 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

March 27, 2015

Dear Neighbor:

As you know we filed our Mass and Main Mixed Income Residential Subdistrict zoning petition in November. Over the past six months we have had over 15 public meetings to consider our proposal and get meaningful feedback. Members of the City Council, the Planning Board, City staff, and the community asked us to consider an increase in the amount of permanently affordable units within our proposal. While it is clear that the community strongly prefers housing over office or lab, we also heard that affordable housing was critical.

Although our original petition called for 17 percent affordable and middle-income units, we are increasing the percentage of affordable units, which serve lower income households earning 50 to 80 percent of area median income. We are doubling the percentage of affordable units from 8.5 percent in the original petition to 17 percent. We continue to maintain 3 percent middle income units, a category that serves households earning 80 to 120 percent of area median income. Overall, we are increasing our required percentage of permanently, and privately subsidized units to 20 percent. We know of no other private developer-owner that has offered such a permanent contribution with this type of income mix without taxpayer subsidies. Our proposal would deliver 40 affordable and 7 middle income housing units for a total of 47 permanently and privately subsidized units.

As background, inclusionary housing requirements under current City zoning stipulate that 11.5 percent of units in developments larger than 10 units be set aside for affordable units (50 to 80 percent of area median income) in exchange for a 30 percent increase in density over base zoning. The current City ordinance does not require middle income or three bedroom units. Our proposal represents unprecedented commitments to affordable, middle, and three bedroom family size units.

Our properties sit on the edge of a neighborhood which faces significant workforce pressures from Kendall Square. We believe this is a special opportunity to transform a series of nearly vacant older lab buildings that are now dead space and create a housing and retail community with an active streetscape and add connectivity from Central Square to the community.

Sincerely,

Alex Twining
Twining Properties

Mark Roopenian
Normandy Real Estate Partner

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