NEI General Contracting Completes Hattie Kelton Apartments

OCTOBER 2020  NEI has announced the completion of a 56,290 SF, four-story residential building with 1,000 SF of commercial space at 61 Heath Street in Jamaica Plain, Mass. for the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), along with the Back of the Hill Community Development Corporation. Designed to create affordable rental options and bring life to a long-vacant parcel, this project is named in honor of Hattie Kelton, a local resident who spent decades advocating for the Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill communities.

Located a quarter-mile from the Jackson Square MBTA station, the Hattie Kelton Apartments are comprised of 11 one-bedroom units, 22 two-bedroom units, and 14 three-bedroom units. One hundred percent of the apartments are affordable, and most are designated for families earning up to 60% of area median income with a portion of units set aside for formerly homeless and people with mental disabilities.

“With its dedication to constructing affordable housing, NEI shares our mission of developing homes that allow people to stay and thrive in Boston despite not being able to pay today’s high rents,” said JPNDC Chief Executive Office Teronda Ellis. “We have worked with NEI on other projects, and they are excellent partners as well as builders. We knew they were the right choice to build the Hattie Kelton Apartments.”

Designed by Prellwitz Chilinksi Associates, Inc. of Cambridge to fit into the neighborhood, the building has porches, planted terraces, multiple entries, and a rhythm of cladding materials that complement the existing neighborhood architecture of three-family wood-frame houses, historic brick buildings, and single family homes. The design received overwhelming support from community leaders and public officials.

“The biggest challenge during construction was the small lot size as there was limited space to move around soils during the initial excavation and placement of the foundation,” said Josef Rettman, President of NEI General Contracting. “To create as much affordable housing as possible, the building was designed to use every square inch of the lot size. This tight fit limited NEI’s flexibility and required that the project team be very clever and methodical when relocating anything to maintain all appropriate clearances and mandatory minimum room sizing.”

The project team includes:

  • Owner/developer: Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), along with the Back of the Hill Community Development Corporation.
  • General Contractor: NEI General Contracting
  • Architect: Prellwitz Chilinksi Associates, Inc.
  • Structural Engineer:  Roome & Guarracino LLC
  • MEP Engineer:  WB&A
  • Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering
  • Environmental Consultant: McPhail Associates
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