A former school building in Boston will be converted to 74 income-restricted rental units for LGBTQ adults aged 62 or more years, along with gallery space, an arts studio, community gardens and recreational space.

“I’m proud that together with our partners, we’re creating Boston’s first designated LGBTQ-supported senior building at the former site of the Rogers Middle School in Hyde Park,” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said last week in announcing the $33 million development. “As Boston’s residents continue to age, the need for safe, affordable housing that is welcoming to all remains essential,” he added.

Amenities will be available to residents and the surrounding community. The project is being led by Pennrose Development and LGBTQ Senior Housing. It is being designed by Boston-based architectural firm DiMella Shaffer.

Of the 74 total income-restricted rental units in the new Barton Rogers development, eight will be rented to households of people who are homeless or who need rental assistance. Another eight will be for older adults whose annual incomes are $25,000 to $40,000. In addition, 34 units will be available to households earning less than 60% of area median income (about $55,000 for a two-person household). The remaining units will be rented to households earning up to 80% AMI (eight units) or 100% AMI (16 units). 

The William Barton Rogers Middle School was built in 1899 and named in honor of a geologist, physicist and educator who was the primary founder and first president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. The original building was expanded twice, once in 1920, and then again in 1934, before being closed in June 2015.

The project “paves the way towards integrating older adults in their community by  providing spaces that are inclusive and multigenerational by design,” said Philippe Saad, associate principal at DiMella Shaffer. “This project will also further the city’s age-friendly initiative and  Imagine Boston 2030 as we head into 2020.”

In 2018, Walsh updated his comprehensive housing strategy, increasing the city’s overall housing goal to 69,000 new units by 2030; 15,820 of the units will be new income-restricted units, 2,000 of which would be created for low-income older adults.

Currently, 310 units of senior housing are under construction, and an additional 350 units, including the 74 at the Barton Rogers School, are in the development pipeline.