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Roslindale, MA to get 43 new housing units - Transaction handled by TRA
Jordan Graham | Boston Herald


NEW HOUSING: Mayor Martin J. Walsh speaks yesterday at a groundbreaking ceremony for Parkside on Adams, a mixed-use project in Roslindale that will include 43 units of housing as well as a restaurant that will be inside a former MBTA substation building. Photo by: Faith Ninivaggi

Officials broke ground yesterday on a Roslindale development that will transform an MBTA substation vacant for more than 40 years and add middle-class housing, a project Mayor Martin J. Walsh said offers an affordable alternative to the explosion of luxury housing in Boston.


“This is an exciting project for the city, an exciting project for Roslindale,” Walsh said yesterday after the groundbreaking for The Parkside on Adams. “Here’s an opportunity for 43 units in neighborhoods that can help sustain a community. It’s certainly a big part of the answer.”


The Parkside on Adams will include those 43 housing studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units at the site of the former F.J. Higgins Funeral Home and the long-vacant and unused MBTA substation on Washington Street will be restored and house a 120-seat restaurant on its ground floor.


“It’s going to be a wonderful, transforming event for our neighborhood,” said Steve Gag, president of Roslindale Village Main Streets.


Walsh said the $15 million project, which is across the street from Adams Park, will help complete the redevelopment of the area.


“This is really one of the last pieces,” Walsh said.


The substation, built in 1911, was used to power some of Boston’s first streetcars.


Gag said the development will bring Roslindale full circle.


“This really gave birth to Roslindale, this building did, because it allowed those streetcars to bring people to work,” he said. “This is all about transformations.”


Matt Kiefer, president of Historic Boston Inc., a nonprofit focused on restoring and preserving historic buildings, said the substation will turn into a neighborhood highlight.


“You sometimes find treasure in unexpected places,” he said. “An electric power substation is not necessarily the first thing that would come to your mind as something that might have a role in improving a community.”


Soon, the windows covered with bricks and wooden boards will be open again.


One part of the substation that will not be restored is the fading mural on the side of the building. Jim Higgins, who painted the mural in the ’70s, said the redevelopment will do the same thing he had hoped to do 40 years ago.


“When I did the mural, it was to make it a nicer space,” Higgins said. “I think this is a logical progression of that.”


The substation was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013, a designation that made the building eligible for state and federal tax credits for its rehabilitation.