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Works Begins on Transforming Knights of Columbus Building into Affordable Housing

The redevelopment of the Knights of Columbus building at 41 North Margin Street in Boston’s North End to senior affordable housing has officially begun.

Renovations begin at the Knights of Columbus building, December 2020. Photo by Adam Castiglioni.

The project will create 23 one-bedroom and studio apartments for older Bostonians. Developer Affirmative Investments, Inc. will be doing a complete gut renovation of the vacant building, including a new HVAC system, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, fire alarm, and elevator. In addition to the housing units, a 2,000 square foot new meeting hall for the Knights of Columbus Ausonia Council #1513 is included, as well as 13 off-street parking spaces.

“The members of Ausonia Council 1513, Knights of Columbus, are excited to work with East Boston CDC, Affirmative Investments and the City of Boston to provide 23 affordable, elderly apartments to give residents an opportunity to remain in the neighborhood. We believe that using our property to address a shortage of affordable housing in the North End fulfills our charitable mission to improve the quality of life for people in need.” —John Pagliuca, the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus.

Six of the new units will be for extremely low-income senior households earning less than 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or $26,850 yearly, with three units set aside for formerly homeless individuals and 17 of the units will be affordable to those earning less than 60% of AMI or $53,760 yearly.

Photo by Adam Castiglioni.

The project was proposed back in 2018 and has received overwhelming support from the community, local businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Both the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) and North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted in support of the conversion.

“I am thankful to the Knights of Columbus for partnering with Affirmative Investments and the East Boston CDC to create affordable apartments for 23 senior households, being the first new affordable housing built in the North End in many years,” said Mayor Walsh. “As Boston’s residents continue to age, the need for safe, affordable housing remains essential. This new development will be an incredible asset to the neighborhood. I look forward to our work ahead to make more of these projects a reality.”

Recently, the Knights of Columbus offered to incorporate the Christopher Columbus statue into their new development after being recently vandalized in June. The City reached an agreement to have the statue live permanently in the development at 41 Margin Street after the City repairs it. 

The total development cost for the renovation of the building is $16.7 million. This project is made possible in part by a $5.6 million investment by the City of Boston, more than $1.9 million from Boston’s Community Preservation Act funding, $2.3 million in funds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, $4.9 million of 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity from Boston Capital, a $1.1 million permanent loan and $5.8 million in construction financing from Eastern Bank, and $800,000 from the Knights of Columbus.

Photo by Adam Castiglioni.

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