All 30 apartments at 270 Centre Street, a new mixed-use building in Jamaica Plain, are fully occupied. Developed by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and designed by Studio G Architects, this long-anticipated project was ten years in the making. The sustainably-designed building links Boston’s Latin Quarter (Hyde Square) with Jackson Square MBTA station and the Southwest Corridor Park.
1300 prospective tenants applied for the 30 affordable units, several of which were set aside for those with mental disabilities at risk of homelessness. In addition to the housing, first floor retail spaces will incubate a new restaurant, a laundry, and a hair salon, all local businesses.
Just as importantly, 270 Centre Street heralds the renewal of the neighborhood through the Jackson Square Initiative, which has already brought infrastructure improvements. Partners for Jackson plan new educational and recreational facilities, and additional housing to help rebuild a neighborhood long plagued by gang violence. While 270 Centre is a single building in Boston’s urban fabric, it is a prime example of how sustainable, transit-oriented development can transform struggling neighborhoods into 21st Century urban villages, which are both sustainable and sustaining to residents. Residents have easy access to transportation, parks, schools, jobs, stores and services.
Studio G’s design team stretched the limited construction budget of $216/SF to create a highly energy efficient building. A 30 kWh photovoltaic array, the first in Jackson Square, delivers electric power to the house lights and HVAC system. “Living wall” screens on the building roof and exterior walls, planted with climbing vines, reduce the heat island effect and return oxygen to a neighborhood with one of the highest asthma rates in Boston. Two new residents with asthma have mentioned improvements in their health and ability to sleep, because the design provides excellent indoor air quality in their new homes.
The contextual yet contemporary design of 270 Centre makes it a notable gateway to Hyde and Jackson Squares, and the urban village under development.