Boston: The Clarion opens and includes new home for Future Chefs

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh, developer The Community Builders (TCB) and non-profit Future Chef's today announced the opening of The Clarion, a mixed-income, mixed-use housing development in Grove Hall. This residence consists of 39 units of rental housing, including 32 income restricted units at a range of income levels and 7 market-rate units. The building includes 5,750 square feet of commercial space on the first floor which is the new home of Future Chefs, a youth development non-profit that uses a work-based learning model to engage teens in paid work to develop culinary and essential life skills, setting youth up for successful careers in any field they choose. The Clarion also meets rigorous energy-efficient goals and is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified building.

"I'm excited that this holiday season we will welcome 39 families to their new home at The Clarion, a state-of-the-art building that includes incredible amenities and space reserved  for Future Chefs, which provides crucial life skills to Boston youth," said Mayor Walsh. "I want to thank The Community Builders,  the Grove Hall community, Future Chefs and all of our partners for working with us to create new affordable and mixed-income housing, as well as opportunities for youth development here in Grove Hall. Together we will continue to work to improve every neighborhood in Boston by making sure all residents and their families have accessible, safe  and affordable housing options."

"The Clarion and the partnership with Future Chefs is a great expression of The Community Builders' mission—providing housing for people at a wide range of income levels, enriching a community, and creating opportunities for advancement. We are proud that today The Clarion is fully occupied and a place that 39 households and a very special organization now call home," said Andy Waxman, Regional Vice President of Real Estate Development at The Community Builders. "I want to thank our partners for all of their work to make this development possible."

The Clarion has 27 new affordable apartments for households earning at or below 60% of area median income (AMI) or $76,740 for a family of four. Seven of these units are set-aside for households who earn at or below 30% AMI or $38,350 for a family of four. Of the seven, three units are set-aside for persons with disabilities and four are for formerly homeless households directly referred by HomeStart. The Clarion also includes 7 market-rate units and 5 income restricted units at a range of AMIs financed by the City of Boston Department of Neighborhood Development intended for households earning at or below 100% AMI or $119,000 for a family of four.

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"We're thrilled to be working once again with the City of Boston and The Community Builders on cutting edge affordable housing that will help provide opportunities for the city's youth through the Future Chefs program," said Clark Ziegler, executive director of Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP). "We've now financed eight TCB developments and have financed 194 projects and 7,270 apartments in the City of Boston. This development addresses a lot of our priorities and we're looking forward to financing more homes like this."

The Clarion includes 15 one-bedroom units, 21 two-bedroom family units, and 3 three-bedroom family units, and a spacious lobby and property management office suite fronting on Blue Hill Avenue. There is on-site resident parking at the back of the building and a landscaped plaza on the corner of Quincy and Blue Hill Avenue. Nola Shea, a new occupant of The Clarion said, "I am really happy to be a resident of the Clarion living complex. The apartments are new, really nice, and comfy; the location is convenient and city friendly...and the staff and management team are awesome!"

Future Chefs formerly operated out of the old Flower Exchange building, but when the Albany Street property was slated for redevelopment in 2018, Future Chefs connected with TCB to make the Clarion the new Future Chefs home base. The interior build out for the 5,750 square feet of ground-floor commercial space creates a new home for Future Chefs.  Future Chefs was founded by Toni Elka in 2008, based on the belief that as a society we have a collective obligation to prepare young people to find employment and lead productive lives.

"Future Chefs is making a monumental shift at a really important time. Our contribution and response to change is on the side of positivity, growth, progress, and togetherness with a focus on youth development and empowerment. I grew up in Roxbury and Dorchester, the new home of Future Chefs – everything coming together makes me so proud to be a part of this wonderful Future Chefs family since its inception!", said Aquila Kentish. Kentish earned a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management on a Future Chefs scholarship and has rejoined Future Chefs as the Culinary Operations Manager.

"We are excited to bring our values into focus in this beautiful new facility. We believe that every young person should be able to imagine a purposeful, joyful life. This collaboration gives Future Chefs a warm and inviting home to create food-centric, youth development magic with our neighbors for years to come," said Toni Elka, Founder and Executive Director of Future Chefs.

The mix of housing and youth-development brings new beginnings into this site. "We are excited that where once was an empty lot, now sits a beautiful building that provides housing and brings hope to the community. Future Chefs and Commonwealth Kitchen now anchor our culinary district and provide people a clear career path into the culinary arts, entrepreneurship, and a multitude of other endeavors," said Ed Gaskin, Executive Director of Greater Grove Hall Main Streets.

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The Clarion development was made possible by a contribution of $1.5 million from the Department of Neighborhood Development funding and $750,000 in Neighborhood Housing Trust Funds. The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) contributed $1.25 million via CATNHP and HSF funds, $1 million from Massachusetts Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) provided $450,000 in Community Based Housing (CBH) funds. TD Bank provided the $10.2 million construction loan and Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) is providing permanent funding via a $2.8 million permanent loan. Boston Capital was the tax credit syndicator for $6.2 million in Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity and $3 million State Low-Income Housing Tax credits. Additionally, The Community Builders provided a $1.35 million sponsor loan.

ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT (DND)

The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing the homeless, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. As part of the ongoing coronavirus response, the Office of Housing Stability is also conducting tenant's rights workshops to educate residents about the eviction moratorium and their rights. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents. The Supportive Housing Division works with various partners around the city to rapidly house individuals who are experiencing homelessness. For more information, please visit the DND website.

ABOUT THE COMMUNITY BUILDERS (TCB)

The Community Builders (TCB) is one of America's leading nonprofit housing organizations. Our mission is to build and sustain strong communities where all people can thrive. We realize our mission by developing, financing and operating residential communities, neighborhood amenities and resident opportunity programs. Since 1964, we have constructed or preserved hundreds of affordable and mixed-income housing developments and pioneered the Community Life (CL) model for resident success. Today, anchored by offices in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York and Washington, D.C. we own or manage 13,000 apartment homes in more than 14 states. For more information, please visit: www.tcbinc.org

ABOUT FUTURE CHEFS

Future Chefs prepares teens for success after high school, and a lifetime of economic security. We intervene in the cycle of intergenerational poverty by supporting Boston's low-income youth to develop job skills while engaged in authentic, productive work in our kitchen, a medium in which teens are engaged, inspired, and challenged. The three-phased program supports teens to (1) explore culinary and job-readiness skills, (2) earn and learn in paid work-based employment while practicing transferable skills, and (3) work their plan for after high school with coaching and support from the staff.

Our new headquarters at the Clarion brings a state-of-the-art production and teaching kitchen and community resource to Roxbury. This new hub will allow Future Chefs to expand our social enterprise program, employ more students, and provide positive youth space and career support services for both teens and their families.

Visit the Future Chefs website for more information.stats

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