Support 1791 Mass Ave 100% Affordable Housing Development

ABC is proud to support the proposed development of 40 units of 100% affordable housing at 1791 Mass Ave in Porter Square. Located just a few hundred feet from the Porter Square T station, this development is a rare opportunity to add substantial new affordable homes for Cambridge families and individuals to a vibrant retail district without adding new parking. The building heights and minimal parking included in this proposal help the developer achieve a level of density that is critical to build the type of affordable and sustainable communities that Cambridge desperately needs.

Although the City of Cambridge and has been supportive of affordable housing there is some concern that without a large turnout and a strong showing of support at the hearing for the height, density and reduced parking the project may be substantially reduced by the zoning board.

Please attend the zoning board hearing and speak in favor of this proposal. No matter where you live in Cambridge your support will be critical.

BZA Hearing on 1791 Mass Ave
Thursday, January 11th
7:00 P.M.
806 Mass Ave in Central Square (Next to City Hall)

If you can’t make it to the meeting next week, I ask that you please send a letter to the BZA indicating your support. Please send correspondence to Maria Pecheco at [email protected]. Make sure to reference BZA Case No. 014892-2017 and address the letter to Chairman Constantine Alexander.

Additional key details:

  • 1791 Mass Ave and 1 and 2 Frost Terrace – located on the Southern edge of Porter Square, Cambridge facing Massachusetts Avenue, the site is two short blocks to the Red Line and Commuter Rail. Our proposal is to create 40 100% Affordable apartments, the vast majority (68%0) are two and three bedrooms (14 one bedrooms, 13 two bedrooms and 13 three bedrooms ); 
  • The total site is approximately 22,000sf and each parcel contains an historic house;
  • The three existing historic houses will be preserved and rehabilitated (the two rear houses will have appropriate shed dormers added and the 1791 house will be moved forward and the non-contributing additions will be removed). A new 4-5 story addition will be added to the 1791 house.
  • The City of Cambridge and its Affordable Housing Trust Fund has been incredibly supportive of this proposal and already advanced/committed a total of $7.18MM to facilitate the purchase of the three properties;
  • Developer is proposing a "friendly 40B" to the Cambridge Zoning Board of Appeal.  We have been working with all of our immediate abutters for over 10 months through a charrette process to solicit their input on the design and have held numerous community meetings
  • Parking: In order to maximize the site for high quality affordable housing, and due its location adjacent to services, retailers (a large grocery store is two blocks away), and transportation, we are proposing three handicap spaces onsite. Underground parking would substantially increase costs and would be very inefficient based on the site’s dimensions. Without a material increase in building height (which is vehemently opposed by our abutters), at-grade parking below the building will substantially reduce the number/size of the apartments. We have retained a parking engineer who surveyed the availability of parking with 1/4 mile and found there to over 130 parking spaces during the peak demand time. Additionally we have adopted parking measures such as providing subway, T passes and hubway membership to our residents.

A copy of the development plans and the BZA application online at