Oxford Ping on Affordable Housing — Consigli Construction
With a strong local economy, a growing population and one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country, affordable housing in Boston can be more difficult to find than ever. While Mayor Marty Walsh has a stated goal of building 53,000 units of housing by 2030, that’s a long way off for many residents currently struggling to both live and work in the city.
Enter the Oxford Ping On affordable housing development. A project of the Chinese Economic Development Council, the 11-story, 67-unit building in Boston’s Chinatown is funded through a tax-exempt $14.6 million bond from MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance agency, as well as $10.9 million in federal low-income housing tax credits.
Located at the site of a former parking lot, Oxford Ping On takes its name from the intersection of Oxford Street and Ping On Alley where it is located. The building will feature 48 studio apartments, 16 one-bedroom apartments and three two-bedroom apartments. The units are geared toward those earning no more than 30 to 60 percent of the area’s medium income and will provide a vital housing solution in the space-strapped neighborhood.
The densely packed nature of Boston’s Chinatown and a miniscule 6,500-square-foot building footprint presented a number of challenges during the construction process. When construction crews ran out of space on-site to store building materials, Consigli implemented a “just in time” delivery method where supplies were brought to the site as needed instead of all at once.
“The owner had rented part of the parking lot next door to use as laydown, but that lot was only about 4,000 square feet,” says Matt Lagowski, project manager with Consigli. “During construction we had some equipment that blocked off part of the alley, so we had to reroute traffic through the parking lot, leaving no area for laydown.”
The site presented other challenges beyond its small footprint. The project was set back six months when one neighboring building owner refused to allow Consigli to underpin the building’s foundation below his own. “We did it on some of the buildings surrounding it, but that one owner wouldn’t sign off on it so the project architect, Chia Ming Sze, redesigned the entire foundation system,” says Lagowski.
The roadblocks did not end there. An analysis determined that the crane planned for the erection of structural steel was too heavy for an adjacent building’s foundation.
“We had to change plans and use a smaller, mobile crane,” says Lagowski. “We actually constructed half of the building from inside our own building footprint and then used a larger crane a little further away to pick steel over adjacent buildings.”
Even when the crane was up and running, the site’s small footprint required Consigli to schedule precise deliveries and employ some less-than-traditional construction methods. “Since we had no space, trucks would pull up on the side of the street and the crane would take steel directly from the delivery trucks and put it on the building, so we had to sequence and stack beams on the truck just as it was going to go into place,” he says.
Mindful of complementing the existing neighborhood aesthetic, Consigli paid special attention to the building façade, which is constructed from brick veneer, petrarch fiberglass panels and exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS).
“We spent a lot of time on the exterior façade because of its high-profile visibility on Oxford Street and Ping On Alley. The project team requested that the façade materials aligned vertically and horizontally from all lines-of-site so we compiled drawings detailing every fastener around the building to ensure a quality final product,” Lagowski explains. “The color scheme chosen by Chia Ming Sze blends in with the remainder of the community which will work well at the end of the day.”
About Consigli Construction Company Inc.
Consigli Construction Company. Inc. is a leading construction manager and general contractor with offices in Boston and Milford, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Portland, Maine, Hartford, Connecticut, and New York state. Its extensive portfolio features a diverse range of projects of various scale and the company serves a wide range of clients in the life sciences, historical, academic, residential and cultural industries throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.
A fourth-generation family-owned business, Consigli is recognized by the Boston Business Journal as the second-largest construction company in Massachusetts and by Engineering News-Record as one of the 100-largest in the country. It has received numerous awards and recognition for its work and employment practices company wide. Follow Consigli on Twitter (@Consigli1905) or on Facebook (Consigli Construction).
The Chinese Economic Development Council is an economic development corporation focused on supporting Boston’s Asian community in achieving self-sufficiency and security through affordable housing development and job creation. Over the last 40 years CEDC has developed the China Trade Center, 15 Oxford Place, Mei Wah Village, 65 Harrison Avenue/31 Beach Street and the newly opened 10 Oxford Street in collaboration with Consigli Construction.
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