When completed, Bartlett Station will include 323 new homes for Roxbury families, including 129 for-sale homes and 194 apartments, and more than 54,000 square feet of retail and commercial space for Roxbury businesses.
How a Contaminated MBTA Bus Yard Helped Start a Roxbury Renaissance
Bartlett Station is an 8.5-acre site in the heart of Roxbury that once served as a bus and train maintenance facility for the MBTA. The huge vacant lot, between Roxbury’s historic Fort Hill neighborhood and Nubian Square, was contaminated with petroleum, PCBs, heavy metals, and other dangerous waste, and the old buildings contained asbestos and lead paint.
WINDALE & NUESTRA PARTNERSHIP
Arnold Johnson and George Chin of Windale Developers knew the site well. Having worked in Roxbury for more than 20 years, they could see it was a serious biohazard affecting the health of the neighborhood. When Boston Mayor Tom Menino approached them in the early 2000s about possible clean-up and development of the site, they were eager to take it on, but knew the project was too big for their company alone. By the time an RFP was issued, they had begun talking with colleague Marcia Thornhill of Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation about partnering on the project. Most important, they had begun conversations in the community about residents’ vision for revitalizing the neighborhood. Together the two longtime Roxbury businesses—Windale and Nuestra—were able to win the bid for remediation and development of the site and set a plan that would provide not only crucial housing but also business, retail, and economic opportunities, working with local minority contractors throughout the project.
Over the next decade, 12 projects on 12 lots would be developed in phases, allowing time for many stages of financing and permitting and for the complex brownfields clean-up work required in partnership with the EPA. Environmental engineering firm Weston & Sampson worked with the local Environmental Justice Neighborhood in their site remediation efforts, which included building demolition and the management of tens of thousands of yards of soil. Read more about clean-up efforts in this EPA Brownfields Success Story.
Slated for completion in 2025, Bartlett Station will include 323 new homes for Roxbury families, including 129 for-sale homes and 194 apartments, and more than 54,000 square feet of retail and commercial space for Roxbury businesses. The site also features the Oasis@Bartlett art park where local culture is celebrated. Buildings are LEED Silver Certified and have many green features for long-term operations and sustainability. The development also provides several improvements to the neighborhood such as new sidewalks, handicap accessible ramps, benches, lighting, bike racks, and a new pedestrian plaza and walkway that allows residents and visitors to move easily through the site.
Partners & Awards
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Phoenix Award
Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) “2022 Project of the Year” Award
Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) 2022 Excellence Award for Community Development (for Nubian Markets)
The Bartlett Team (Nuestra and Windale Developers) thanks the Roxbury community for its vision and the Bartlett Project Review Committee for its input and commitment, and wishes to recognize consultants Kim Vermeer of Urban Neighborhood Initiatives; Henry Joseph and Associates; Davis Square Architects; the MBTA; Michael Washington Associates; Goulston & Storrs Law Firm; DeVellis Zrein Civil Engineering and Landscape Architecture and the highly skilled and professional team at Weston & Sampson. Special recognition goes to the former NCDC staff who initiated this project: Evelyn Friedman, Marcia Thornhill, David Price, and Mark Matel.
Also crucial to Bartlett Station’s success is the support and patience of its public and private funders, the City of Boston–Mayor’s Office of Housing; Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Housing and Community Development; Frank Gardner and the EPA; DEP; Mass Development; Enterprise Community Partners; Neighborworks; LISC; Blue Hub Capital; CEDAC; MHIC; Eastern Bank; Bank of America and Federal Home Loan Bank, among the many others who make important projects like Bartlett Station possible for people and communities who have worked hard to make their collective vision a reality.
Quotes from the Community
“As a life-long Bostonian, I am truly grateful for the impact Bartlett Station has on our city. This project helps to alleviate the affordability tension in our housing market by creating truly affordable homes for people who may not have had the opportunity to live in Boston.”
—Chynah Tyler, State Representative
“Bartlett Station’s unique mixed-income program was designed for working people like me. My family doesn’t qualify as low income, but at Bartlett Station I qualified for the middle group. I love that everything is where I need it. The bus stop right in front of our building can take my daughter to school each day, and drop her off at our front door. We’re closer to family and my job, and I can just walk to work each day. I want to thank the Mayor and Nuestra Comunidad for making this possible. We’re proud to call this beautiful affordable building our home.”
—Joani Torres, Bartlett Station resident
“The Bartlett Place Project will transform a very large parcel of land blighted and contaminated by its former existence as a public transportation facility into a healthy, clean and vibrant development of mixed-income housing, commercial, retail, and beautiful open space. This successful outcome was accomplished through a dedicated partnership with local residents and stakeholders to achieve the community vision. We are very proud of Bartlett Place!”
—Michael Miles, Roxbury resident and Project Review Committee member