24 Webster Avenue

Creating opportunity in Somerville

About

Located in the Union Square neighborhood of Somerville, and minutes from the green line train station, 24 Webster Avenue will provide approximately 42 apartments to Somerville families. This 100% affordable building will comprise of one, two and three-bedroom apartments. 24 Webster Ave will also contain about 2,300 square feet of commercial space and residential amenities. The project will be built to Passive House standards ensuring that it is ultra energy efficient.

Public Benefits:


  • 100% Affordable Housing
  • 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments
  • Sustainability and Climate Resiliency
    • Built to Passive House standards
  • Community oriented retail space
Just A Start would like to thank the Community Builders Cooperative for its support to build more affordable housing in Somerville. The Community Builders Cooperative owned and operated out of the 24 Webster Ave building for over four decades, honing carpentry arts and crafts within its former classrooms. When most of its members were ready to retire, they sought out Just A Start as a nonprofit developer with the hopes that the site could continue to serve the community in its new iteration. Just A Start is grateful to have partnered with another community-oriented organization to ensure Somerville remains affordable.

Team Members

Just A Start

Founded in 1968, Just A Start is a community development corporation with a mission to promote equity to create access to stable housing and build pathways to economic opportunity. We build equitable and thriving communities by guiding individuals and families on their path to economic stability through affordable housing, career training, and comprehensive support services.

For over 50 years Just A Start has served Somerville and Cambridge through housing assistance, career training, youth education, and financial opportunity programs. We have developed over 600 rental apartments of affordable family housing and 130 affordable homes. Our workforce development programs include Biomedical and IT training and the YouthBuild program. We also offer financial coaching and tax prep through our Financial Opportunity program, and comprehensive support for families towards financial and social well-being through the Families Moving Forward program. Annually, Just A Start serves over 2,600 people.

Icon Architecture

ICON is a women-owned, Boston-based firm of 45 staff with award-winning work focused on innovative, sustainable housing—creating new paradigms for living. Widely recognized for our vision, creativity, and responsiveness to clients, ICON’s principals and senior staff offer the skills necessary to conceive and implement complex projects that require coordination of clients, citizens and agencies. We bring to our clients an ability to listen carefully, to assimilate and synthesize, and to help build consensus among often-conflicting interests.

At the heart of ICON’s practice is the belief that affordable housing makes a difference; a substantial portion of our practice is devoted to the design of affordable housing and equitable neighborhoods. We are committed to the highest quality of design, sustainability, livability and long-range economy. Our designs demonstrate sensitivity to their context and display our ability to work thoughtfully with residents, neighbors, and administrators to achieve quality planning and design with superior lasting value.

Timeline

Past

  • 1921 – The current building was constructed to provide more space for the St. Joseph’s Church girls’ parochial school.
  • 1965 – St. Joseph’s Church sells the building to a private owner.
  • February 2021 – Just A Start purchases the building from 24 Webster Building Trust.
  • Fall 2022 – Spring 2024 – Community Process
    • September 2022 – Meetings with community organizations
    • October 2022 – Community Meeting #1
    • April 2023 – Community Meeting #2
    • March 2024 – Community Meeting #3
  • Fall 2022- Winter 2024 – Just A Start pursues funding opportunities.
  • September 2022 – Presentation at the Somerville Affordable Housing Trust Meeting
  • September 2023 – State Funding Application
  • January 2024 – State Announces Funding Award

Upcoming

  • Summer – Fall 2024 – Somerville Review & Permitting
  • Winter 2024/2025 (prior to construction) – Community Meeting #4
  • Spring 2025 – Construction Start (if funded)
  • Fall 2026 – Construction Completion

FAQs

Just A Start focuses on affordable family housing. The proposed mix of apartments includes 12 studios, 3 one-bedrooms, 14 two-bedrooms, and 13 three-bedrooms.

Yes. Located minutes from the Union Square train station, 24 Webster Ave is a transit-oriented building design. We are working to maximize parking within site constraints and the proposed plans include approximately 4 parking spaces.

24 Webster Ave. is required to follow U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines. Affordable housing typically includes apartments that limit household income to at or below 30%, 50%, 60%, and 80% of the area median income (AMI). For 2022, the adjusted gross income limits in Somerville for a family of four range from $42,050 to $111,850.

The proposed design for 24 Webster Ave. will include units set aside for households making between 30% and 80% of the area median income (AMI).

The project will take several years to complete. Just A Start began preliminary design of the building in Fall 2022 and obtained funding awards from Fall 2022 through early 2024.

Once the design is complete and financing is completely in place, we anticipate that construction will take about 18 months. We hope to break ground in Spring 2025, with completion in Fall 2026.

Passive House is an ultra energy efficient design, which allows tenants to save on their utility bills and will help the city reach net-zero. Just A Start has experience in PHIUS and our Squirrelwood project recently won the best Passive House renovation project in the New England Engineering News Record.

According to phius.org, “Passive building puts passive house principles into practice to create safe, resilient, comfortable and – most importantly – energy efficient structures.” The five principles aim to:

Employ continuous insulation throughout its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.

The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.

Employ high-performance windows (double or triple-paned windows depending on climate and building type) and doors – solar gain is managed to exploit the sun’s energy for heating purposes in the heating season and to minimize overheating during the cooling season.

Use some form of balanced heat – and moisture-recovery ventilation.

Use a minimal conditioning system.

We have hosted 3 virtual community meetings, and plan to have at least one more before construction begins. Please sign up for email updates to be notified when the date is set and how you can participate.

We welcome comments and questions on our community feedback page, or you can email us directly at [email protected].

Why 24 Webster Avenue?

Somerville is a thriving city, but opportunities for family-sustaining work, quality education, and affordable homes have not been accessible to all residents. As a nonprofit community development corporation, Just A Start is focused on creating livable, vibrant communities guided by shared needs. Together we can create approximately 45 new apartments, helping more families to live affordably in Somerville.

Access to housing that a wide range of people can afford is a key ingredient in a healthy, vibrant community. Quality, stable housing is linked to higher student achievement, better health and well-being outcomes, and increased economic mobility. Our community is healthier and stronger when people’s homes– like 24 Webster Ave– are located near their jobs, schools, parks, bike paths, public transit, and grocery stores.

Community Poll

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Please contact us at:

Just A Start
1035 Cambridge Street, Suite #12
Cambridge, MA 02141

Molly Kaviar, Project Manager

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