402 RINDGE AVENUE, REDEFINED
WELCOME TO RINDGE COMMONS
Just-A-Start (JAS), a Cambridge-based community development corporation, has proposed a community-oriented development at 402 Rindge Avenue.
Rindge Commons is focused on the community’s needs and JAS’s core mission: to provide access to secure homes, sustaining careers, and community resources. This new, mixed-use development will bring together a state-of-the-art education and job training center, affordable housing, and services available to the entire neighborhood. It will be located in two new buildings adjacent to JAS’s Rindge Tower Apartments.
For over fifty years, JAS has empowered local individuals and families with the resources, opportunities, and training that they need in order to live, work, stay, and thrive in Cambridge. Rindge Commons is an exciting next step in this vision.
Rindge Commons received zoning approval in August 2020, and is tentatively scheduled to break ground for its first phase in Fall 2021.
To learn more about the project, we invite you to check this website regularly for news and updates.
Cambridge is a thriving city with many resources, but opportunities for family-sustaining work, quality education, and affordable homes have not been accessible to all residents. As a nonprofit community development corporation, JAS is focused on creating livable, vibrant communities guided by shared needs.
Rindge Commons answers these needs by:
- Creating an integrated training center to strengthen and expand JAS’s education and training programs;
- Giving the community over 100 new affordable apartments, including family-sized units;
- Bringing additional resources to this growing neighborhood with the inclusion of a public, service-providing organization within the development;
- Offering affordable childcare to this growing neighborhood with the inclusion of a public pre-Kindergarten program;
- Providing residents, neighbors, and community groups with new public meeting space.
Education and Training
Cambridge is known to many as an innovation hub—a city with the largest concentration of life sciences in the world and one in which three-quarters of adults have bachelor’s degrees or higher. While there are many benefits to living in a highly-skilled community, it can be very challenging for residents with less access to education to secure employment that provides opportunities for growth, stability, and increased earnings.
Rindge Commons will allow JAS to strengthen and expand its education and workforce training programs by bringing them together into one new, state-of-the-art training facility. These programs include YouthBuild, the Biomedical Careers Program, and the Information Technology (IT) Careers Program, serving youth and adults from Cambridge and nearby communities. These tuition-free programs help ensure that all people, from teens earning a high school credential to adult learners making a career change, have the skills and resources necessary to pursue education, successfully enter a competitive job market, and develop upward career mobility.
The impact of JAS’s programs is clear. Graduates of the Biomedical and IT Careers Programs increase their annual incomes by an average of $14,000 in their first year of employment and gain access to employer benefit coverage, improving their family financial stability and reducing their use of public benefits. YouthBuild students earn stipends as they work towards their high school credential and industry-recognized certifications, and 70% of the Class of 2018 enrolled in post-secondary education after graduation. The training center at Rindge Commons will offer even more people the chance to pursue education and a family-sustaining wage.
QUALITY, INCLUSIVE HOUSING
Housing costs in Cambridge are outpacing resident incomes, placing quality, secure homes out of reach for many people and undermining housing stability. Increasing the supply of affordable housing makes it possible for individuals and families of different income levels to live and work in Cambridge, strengthening the city’s economic and social fabric.
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 Rindge Commons, are located near their jobs, schools, parks, bike paths, public transit, and grocery stores.
Creating an inclusive, livable community is central to Rindge Commons. The new buildings will include community rooms that are accessible to residents, neighbors, and other groups that need space to meet.
There is also an opportunity to bring additional resources to the neighborhood. The project includes space that can be used for another service-providing organization within the development, providing an additional community asset.
Across the street from the Alewife MBTA station, Rindge Commons is well-positioned for easy transit access.
Frequently Asked Questions
A) The project will take several years to complete. Rindge Commons received zoning approval in August 2020 and Just-A-Start is currently completing the design and financing processes necessary in order to break ground.
The project includes two phases: Phase 1, which includes the Education & Training Center and 14 affordable apartments, and Phase 2, which includes 87 affordable apartments.
We anticipate that construction on Phase 1 will take about two years, beginning with a groundbreaking in Fall 2021, and that construction on Phase 2 will begin in Spring 2024.
A) Rindge Commons will include 101 affordable apartments of a variety of sizes to accommodate a range of families.
Phase 1 will include 10 one-bedroom apartments and 14 two-bedroom apartments. Phase 2 will include 16 one-bedroom apartments, 39 two-bedroom apartments, and 22 three-bedroom apartments.
Will residents have access to the community space at the new building? Will other neighbors and community members?
A) Yes, community space will be open to residents and neighbors. Stay tuned for more details about its use.
A) Just-A-Start’s Education and Training programs, including YouthBuild, the Biomedical Careers Program, and the Information Technology Careers Program, will be housed in the training center.
Is there any impact on 402 Rindge’s residents’ current housing? Will current residents receive preference / first rights to the new units?
A) There will not be any work done on the existing building in association with this project. Our goal is to minimize impacts on the residents. We will brief residents on the construction plan and will provide updates monthly throughout the process.
We are planning to have 3-bedroom units in the new development. The marketing and priority target groups for new affordable housing is regulated by the city and state. We understand the need for our existing residents to have larger units and will be working with the city and state to provide some level of priority to those units for 402 Rindge residents whose families have outgrown their apartments.
The overall housing lottery process is regulated by the city and state. Existing Cambridge residents will benefit from the local preference that the city requires, but applications will be handled the same way as all similar applications.
A) Existing residents will be automatically able to maintain a parking sticker for one vehicle, and remaining spaces will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
We believe many of residents will utilize public transit, and we are incorporating many other transportation demand measures on-site. Rindge Commons will incorporate a BlueBikes station with discounted memberships, increased bike parking, and electronic transit boards in the lobby to help people track Red Line trains and buses. Just-A-Start will also initially provide residents with prepaid MBTA Charlie Cards and will lead orientation sessions about public transit.
A) Just-A-Start conducted a traffic study with Vanasse and Associates, and the study indicated that the car activity at Rindge Commons would not create significant additional delays in the area.
Just-A-Start is taking other actions to improve local traffic, and we are incorporating many other transportation demand measures on-site. Rindge Commons will incorporate a BlueBikes station with discounted memberships, increased bike parking, and electronic transit boards in the lobby to help people track Red Line trains and buses. Just-A-Start will also initially provide residents with prepaid MBTA Charlie Cards and will lead orientation sessions about public transit.
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