BOSTON-The Boston Redevelopment Authority approved the SoCo Lofts project on Northampton Street in the South End. The complex involves 25 new units of housing and will replace a vacant garage.

As part of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s plan to increase artist housing in the city, three units will be set aside as affordable live/work space for artists. BRA director Mark Maloney notes that the project “not only furthers the city’s goal of increasing the housing stock, but it furthers our artist housing goals by providing affordable live/work space for artists who continue to seek a place in the city to live and perform their craft.”

The developer, SoCo Lofts LLC, a joint venture of New Boston Ventures II LLC and Peter Georgantas/PEG Properties, is modeling this $5-million project after its Dover Lofts project on East Berkeley Street in the South End. That project is a 16-unit residential building, which includes two artist live/work and retail spaces. The developer says it sought to include artist space in the SoCo Lofts project after receiving tremendous response from artists looking to acquire one of the units in Dover Lofts.

The BRA launched the Artist Space Initiative in February 2002 to create more affordable housing for artists in the city. The initiative assessed the requirements of 2,000 artists and their housing needs and the inclusion of artist live/work space in this project and others throughout the city is a result of it. The developer is anticipating a January 2005 groundbreaking.

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