Four years later, veterans housing project in Brighton is set to kick off

**HIGHER RES VERSION** 25BrightonMarine - Rendering of the 102-unit apartment complex proposed on the site of the Brighton Marine Health Center. (The Architectural Team)
The Architectural Team
Rendering of the 102-unit apartment complex proposed on the site of the Brighton Marine Health Center.

After nearly four years in the works, a project that will bring housing for veterans to Brighton is finally ready to start construction.

Brighton Marine Health Center and WinnCompanies closed on financing Wednesday for a $43 million apartment building at its campus along Commonwealth Avenue.

They’ll start site work soon and plan to formally break ground this spring on a 102-unit building aimed at lower- and middle-income veterans. It’s on track to open by the fall of 2019.


The beginning of construction is the end of a yearslong process to get a project launched that involved piecing together financing and clearing hurdles on Beacon Hill.

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“It has been a long-term project just to get to this stage,” said Bart Munro, a retired Army captain and board member at Brighton Marine who worked on the development. “I’m ecstatic.”

Brighton Marine and Winn, a Boston housing developer that will manage the project, filed plans with the city in 2014.

The project moved smoothly through Boston Planning & Development Agency permitting, with the strong support of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who also directed $3.7 million in city housing funding to the project.

It also was in line for financing from the Baker administration until Secretary of State William Galvin — who oversees the Massachusetts Historic Commission — stepped in, raising concerns about the demolition of several old officers’ barracks on the site. Galvin said the buildings were historic, and blocked state funding.


That dispute stalled the project for months before Brighton Marine and Galvin reached an agreement:

Brighton Marine had to keep two of the 75-year-old brick buildings on the site, and try to sell two more, for $1 each, to someone who would agree to move them to a new home.

The sales process stretched well into 2017, but ultimately no buyer came forward.

Finally, clear of all hurdles and state and city financing in hand, Brighton Marine and Winn closed on their loans Wednesday.

Veterans at various income levels will be given preference when apartment rentals begin next spring, and 11 of the units will be set aside for homeless veterans.


Residents will have easy access to Brighton Marine’s larger medical and social services campus next door, as well as to job-training programs, said Brighton Marine’s president, Michael Dwyer.

The goal is to help veterans transition back into civilian life, including by providing them with an affordable place to live.

“This is one of the core underpinnings of our mission,” Dwyer said. “Housing really helps with a lot of things.”

Tim Logan can be reached at