A 110-year-old decaying church, a former convent and a shuttered bank are among several existing structures that will benefit from an infusion of cash from the city of Boston to become mixed-income housing.

Those and 14 other projects around the city will create or preserve more than 800 income-restricted housing units, with $67 million from the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Community Preservation Fund and the Neighborhood Housing Trust, Mayor Michelle Wu announced Thursday.

“This is exactly what we want to see all across the city: treasured community spaces maintained and even expanded in the uses that match the needs of our community today,” Wu said.

Wu made the announcement in front of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Jamaica Plain — one of the sites slated to receive the funds — to a group of affordable housing developers, community organizations, city councilors, and members of the Hyde Square Task Force, which owns the church.

The 17 projects span eight neighborhoods and will total 802 units of mixed-income housing that will all meet the Mayor’s Office of Housing standards for zero-emissions buildings. The housing will include rentals for families and also create homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents. Roughly 20% will be income-restricted housing for seniors.

The Church of the Blessed Sacrament project in particular will receive $6.25 million to be redeveloped by Pennrose Development and the Hyde Square Task Force. It will eventually become 55 mixed-income units of rental housing and a new performance space for the organization’s Creative Arts Program.

Another recipient is Columbia Crossing, a renovation project at the Dorchester Savings Bank in Uphams Corner, led by Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation and the Preservation of Affordable Housing. Some of the units will be set aside for artists in the development’s 48 planned income-restricted apartments, which will receive $3.9 million in funds.

“This vibrant, mixed-use, mixed-income and transit-oriented development will preserve and adaptively reuse the historic Dorchester Savings Bank building,” said Kimberly R. Lyle, the CEO of Dorchester Bay EDC. “It will serve as a catalyst for future investment and development in the Uphams Corner neighborhood, and provide critically-needed affordable rental housing.”

2Life Development, Inc. will receive $6 million to create a 125-unit mixed-use building with senior housing and child care and health centers in Mattapan. Another 36 units of senior housing will be created at McDevitt Hall, a former convent in South Boston.

Celina and Charlie.JPG
Celina Miranda, the executive director of the Hyde Square Task Force, which owns the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, and Charlie Adams, New England Regional Vice President at Pennrose, which is developing the building into affordable housing units, and a performance space.
Photo by Sarah Betancourt, GBH News

Converting a building that used to be something else completely can be a challenge with zoning and code requirements. The cost of renovating the Church of the Blessed Sacrament to create affordable housing was once estimated to be north of $20 million. Pennrose has also applied for state funding for the project.

“We’re trying to strike that balance between preserving it in a historically significant manner while controlling costs as much as we can, and making it fully accessible, and fully converted into housing,” said Charlie Adams, the New England Regional Vice President at Pennrose.

The city put out its offer to fund affordable housing developments last year and ultimately chose the 17 projects awarded grants on Thursday. Projects where Black, Indigenous or other people of color represent 25% or more of the development team received a higher preference.

The funding for income-restricted units comes from $32.5 million in municipal and federal dollars administered by the Mayor’s Office of Housing, as well as $13.9 million from the city's Linkage policy, which requires developers of large commercial projects to set aside money to be used for affordable housing

Under the plan, the 82-year-old Mildred Hailey Apartments in Jamaica Plain will be redeveloped with $9.2 million by Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Urban Edge Community Development Corporation in two separate phases, with 80 additional new units that are income restricted below 60 percent of the area median income.

Wu also used the event to promote various policies to boost funding for affordable housing, including a home-rule petition to create a transfer fee of up to 2% on real estate sales of $2 million or more in Boston.

Those policies “would generate the revenue to keep this going permanently in perpetuity for our community,” she said.