The Knights of Columbus received a warm welcome at the November 2018 North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) where a voice vote of acclamation was made in support of the 23 new senior affordable housing units at 41 N. Margin Street in Boston’s North End. The Knights of Columbus (Ausonia Council #1513) would also have just over 1,500 square feet of ground floor space to house a new council headquarters. Plans also call for 15 parking spaces.
Motivated by the recent loss of affordable housing in the North End at 145 Commercial St. and the Mercantile Building, the KoC intend to arrange a 99 year lease to the non-profit East Boston Community Development Corp. (E.B.C.D.C.) that will develop and manage the property. There will be 3 units on the first floor and 5 units on the upper four floors as part of the 5-story building.
The group is looking for a zoning variance to build up to 56.5 feet high, 1.5 feet over the 55′ North End height restriction, in order to fit 23 units. The proponent said that the added height is necessary because of historic floor-to-ceiling restrictions on the first and second floors. The presenters further noted that reducing the project to four stories would bring it to an uneconomic 18 units. A second variance requested is regarding the open space variance. The project provides 94 sf of open space per unit versus the regulation at 100 sf/unit.
The basement would include a community room, available for groups and events. Trash will be contained within the building, without a dumpster. The project has been approved by the Boston Planning & Development Agency and the Boston Historical Commission.
General affordability requirements would be for those with incomes up to $45,000 while the elderly notation means those at least 62 years old. Public financing would be used and tenants would be selected via lottery.
An abutter raised concerns about noise during construction to which the proponents said they intend to provide more details at a future date. Past NEWRA President Mary McGee praised the group for bringing affordable housing to the North End and noted the Knights have also been instrumental in the past by pushing through overall height limits in the neighborhood.