The recently completed renovations to 83 affordable units at the Wayne at Columbia development on Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan were celebrated by local and state officials on Wednesday, August 16.
The development, rehabbed by Cruz Companies, the largest minority-owned construction and real estate development firm in the region, houses working families from Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury and took over a year to repair.
Upgrades included new roofs, kitchens and bathrooms and plumbing and flooring and masonry work, which were done by locals in the community, mostly people of color and immigrants.
“This project provides a glimpse into the future of our city and what we did here today and what we’re doing to create more affordable housing,” Mayor Martin Walsh said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the development.
Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash spoke on behalf of the Baker administration and commended Cruz Companies and the city for their commitment to affordable homes.
“Most of the projects are happening here in Boston because of great developers that are working, and we don’t have to go further than Cruz to find a developer that is meeting a need and is sending loud message that’s pushing other developers to do even better,” Ash said.
Walsh highlighted the significance of the project in the city, which he says employed 250 subcontractors that were primarily people of color and residents of Boston. The final cost of renovations came to a total of $33 million, with $900,000 coming from the mayor’s Department of Neighborhood Development, $2.5 million coming from the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development and support coming from Eastern Bank, MassDevelopment and Cambridge Trust.
Daniel Cruz Jr., senior vice president of Cruz Development, said the project overall returned the building back to its “original splendor.”
“Too many times when they rehab buildings what they end up doing is they change things,” Cruz said, “but in this particular case we were able to rehab to what the original looked like.”
State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry also spoke and said the project is providing the surrounding communities with “an incredible place to call home.”
“When we talk about economic empowerment and economic development these are the folks who have been able to do this and are doing this,” Dorcena Forry said.
City Councilor Ayanna Pressley who was scheduled to speak told Spare Change News that she showed up to endorse the company and its project for being “socially responsible and socially conscious.”
“As an At-Large Councilor, the number one issue and what I receive the most calls for is affordable housing,” Pressley said. “The role [Cruz] is playing in increasing that housing stock is ensuring that families can stay in the city of Boston.”
After the ceremony, Walsh told reporters that projects like these represent the city’s commitment to workforce and inclusionary housing.