The Homes at Old Colony

Boston, MA
Key Elements
  • LEED Gold  
  • Five new public streets  
  • Sustainable stormwater management features

Originally built-in 1941, the 16-acre Old Colony housing development struggled with aged systems and infrastructure, and a very high annual energy and water cost of over $4,000 per unit. The redevelopment increased the number of apartments to 873, located in 22 three-story brick walk-up buildings near Andrews Square. The two-phased redevelopment included: 

  • Phase One: 116 new units of affordable housing and a new 10,000-square-foot community center (the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center) 
  • Phase Two: 169 new units of affordable housing and five new public streets

During Phase One, Nitsch served as an on-call consultant, assisting the project team with City of Boston Public Works permitting and providing peer review services. During Phase Two, we served as the Civil Engineer of Record, providing design and permitting services for the private development parcels and five new public streets. Our services included accessibility compliance, grading, utility support, project coordination, roadway infrastructure design, and cut and fill analysis. Nitsch also led the project team in obtaining Boston Water and Sewer Commission Site Plan Approval, Public Improvement Commission Approval, and DEP Sewer Compliance Approval.  
The project integrated a wide range of sustainable elements, including light-colored walkways to reduce the heat-island effect, and stormwater management features such as pervious pavers, vegetated areas to green the site, and underground stormwater recharge systems that reduce the volume of water to the city system while treating for phosphorous. In fact, the sustainable measures allowed the project to achieve LEED ND Gold Certification. 

The project was funded by a $22 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to fund “green” public housing transformation projects across the country. 

Key Collaborators  

Owner: Beacon Communities, LLC  
Architect: The Architectural Team 
Landscape Architect: Stantec 
Construction Manager: Suffolk