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Frequently Asked Questions


1. Who is leading this project?

Needham Housing Authority (NHA) is the property owner, property manager, and sponsor for the Redevelopment of Linden & Chambers Streets. NHA has provided safe, decent, and affordable housing in Needham for over 75 years. The lead architect for the project is Bargmann, Hendrie + Archetype (BH+A). BH+A is based in Boston and led the design of the Rosemary Pool Complex and The Center at the Heights in Needham, and is currently in charge of the Emery Grover renovation project.

In spring 2024, NHA will be issuing a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) for a development partner to assist in implementing the Redevelopment of Linden Street. 

2. What is the Redevelopment of Linden & Chambers Streets?

Linden Street and Chambers Street are adjacent state-public housing developments for elderly and disabled residents and owned by the NHA. They contain 152 studio units that were built in the 1960s and 1970s that have served nearly 1,000 residents in the past 50-60 years. After decades of inadequate funding, the properties are worn out and at the end of their useful lifetimes. 

The redevelopment project will preserve the 152 affordable units and add another 95 units across Linden & Chambers Streets in two phases. New construction will allow NHA to add elevators, increase unit sizes, improve energy efficiency, incorporate contemporary safety standards, and more to better serve senior and disabled residents. As evidenced by NHA’s waiting list with several hundred people for senior and disabled housing, this is also an opportunity to address the overwhelming demand for affordable housing in Needham. This project has been a top priority for the Town of Needham since 2004. 

3. When will the project be built?

The project will be built across two phases. Phase 1 will replace and expand the Linden Street development and Phase 2 will replace and expand the Chambers Street development. 

Phase 1 Linden Street Redevelopment will be constructed in two sub-phases. Phase 1A with 76 units is expected to begin construction in Q2 2025 at the earliest and be completed in Q4 2026. Phase 1B with 60 units is expected to begin construction in Q4 2026 at the earliest and be completed in Q4 2027. 

Phase 2 to replace Chambers Street and is expected to begin after Phase 1B is completed, although a precise timeline and funding sources have yet to be determined.

4. Is the project approved?

For the project to move forward, NHA will be seeking approval of zoning related articles at the Spring 2024 Town Meeting in May 2024. Over the past year, NHA has hosted numerous meetings to inform the community about the proposed project and to hear feedback. A Planning Board public hearing related to the zoning articles was held on Tuesday, February 27th at 7:30pm. Subject to zoning approval at Town Meeting, NHA will move forward with a Planning Board Site Plan Review in September 2024. In late Fall 2024, NHA will then continue its process of applying for state and local funding for the construction of Phase 1A & 1B in anticipation of starting construction on Phase 1A in Q2 2025 at the earliest.

5. Will the project continue to serve an elderly and disabled population?

Yes, the project will continue to serve the existing population of elderly and disabled residents. The proposed 8 two-bedroom units will allow NHA to serve elderly and disabled populations with variation of needs such as the following: a disabled individual or elderly individual and their caretaker, a grandparent who has guardianship of a minor, two elderly siblings, etc. 

6. How does the Linden and Chambers project address the priorities and objectives of the 2022 Needham Housing Plan?

The Redevelopment of Linden and Chambers Streets has been a top priority for the Town of Needham for twenty years as reflected in the Town’s 2004 Community Development Plan and the 2007 Affordable Housing Plan. These goals were reaffirmed by the Needham Housing Plan Working Group in the latest Needham Housing Plan that was approved by the Planning Board and Select Board in January 2023. The project addresses the following problems with the existing developments:

  • Existing studio apartments at the property are substandard and at the end of their useful life; deficiencies at the existing properties include a lack of accessibility, extremely small units (410-425 sq. ft.), no storage space, lack of insulation, no elevators, and prohibitively expensive cost of maintenance.

  • Needham has a severe shortage of affordable housing for seniors and disabled residents.

NHA’s Redevelopment of Linden and Chambers Streets project will replace all existing units and add 95 new units to the site. At Linden Street, NHA is proposing a 4-story elevator building with 128 one-bedroom units and 8 two-bedroom units designed to meet accessibility and Passive House sustainability standards. One-bedroom units will be 575 sq. ft., increasing living space by over 33%. All units will be equipped with modern finishes, kitchen, bathrooms, and sufficient storage space. 

7. What are the zoning and local Community Preservation Action (CPA) funding related articles that will be voted upon at the Spring 2024 Town Meeting?

There will be four articles related to zoning and local CPA funding that will be voted upon in May 2024.

  • Article 18 is an amendment to the Zoning By-Law to create a new Affordable Housing District with use and dimensional standards that facilitate the proposed project.

  • Article 19 is a map article that applies the Affordable Housing District to the Linden and Chambers Streets site.

  • Article 22 appropriates $5.5 million of CPA funding for Phase 1 to redevelop the Linden Street site.

  • Article 41 is a non-zoning article to correct language in existing deed and title documents for the site to enable the proposed use for elderly and disabled affordable housing.

The exact wording of these articles and accompanying "Article Information" explanations can be found on the May 2024 Annual Town Meeting website. 

8. How will existing residents be impacted by temporary tenant relocation to construct Phase 1 at Linden Street?

Construction on Phase 1A to build 76 units is currently anticipated to require 24 units at Linden Street to be vacated. The first relocation strategy will be the natural turnover of units. At the appropriate time, NHA will seek permission from the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) to pause accepting new applications for units that become vacant when residents move out. 

Remaining tenants will be temporarily relocated into vacant units at Linden and Chambers. Once Phase 1A is completed, residents who had to relocate will move into the Phase 1A building. Residents in the remaining 48 existing Linden Street units will also move directly into new units in Phase 1A to enable construction of Phase 1B.

All residents who temporarily relocate off-site will have the right to return. Under state and federal regulations, NHA must provide relocation benefits and assistance to tenants. No resident will incur any out-of-pocket costs for temporary relocation.

All relocation activity will be in compliance with applicable state and federal requirements, and will include oversight by the State Relocation Bureau. An approved Relocation Advisory Agent will be used to assist with relocation. Further, a Relocation Agreement that details all policies and procedures related to the relocation process will be created. Planning for the Agreement will involve engaging residents during a series of meetings. The Relocation Agreement will be reviewed and approved by the NHA Board and EOHLC. Once procedures and policies are finalized, residents will be assigned relocation coordinators to assist them with relocation logistics. It is currently anticipated that the Relocation Agreement will be advanced in late 2024.

9. How will the Linden Street property be owned and operated after construction?

The Linden Street property is currently owned by NHA as state-aided public housing. It owns both the land on which the buildings sit and the buildings themselves.

In order to fund the Redevelopment of Linden Street, NHA is pursuing Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) financing. The LIHTC program provides the US’s largest source of funding to preserve and build new affordable housing. The program provides tax credit incentives to investors that provide funding for affordable housing. In order for the investors to benefit from the tax credits, they must have an ownership stake in the property. This is typically achieved by having a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) own the newly constructed building. The majority owner of the LLC will be the project’s LIHTC investor(s). The minority owner will be an entity that will likely be jointly controlled by NHA and the to-be-selected developer.

NHA will retain ownership of the land and will enter into a long-term ground lease with the LLC. The investor’s majority ownership of the LLC enables it to claim the tax credit benefits, while day-to-day management of the development remains with the minority owner (NHA and the developer). After 15 years, the investor often sells all or part of their ownership stake back to NHA for a nominal amount.

10. What is the status of and process for selecting a developer partner for the Linden Street project?

To move forward with the Redevelopment of Linden Street, NHA must select a developer partner. NHA had been considering engaging, on a sole source basis, the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) as the developer partner. However in early April 2024, CHA and NHA mutually agreed that NHA’s interests would be best served by issuing a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) for a development partner pursuant to the State's competitive procurement statute Chapter 30B. 

NHA has engaged the Peregrine Group LLC to be its Chapter 30B consultant and will be issuing the RFP later this Spring. Given the progress to date on the Redevelopment of Linden Street project, NHA is hopeful that it will receive multiple high-quality responses to the RFP.

All materials prepared to date by CHA and third-party vendors will be available to all respondents. CHA intends to evaluate the RFP when issued and consider making a response. 

11. How can I contact NHA about the project?

We have developed three main channels to contact NHA about the project. Firstly, we encourage you to attend meetings about the project. Information about meetings are posted on this website's Home and Updates & Timelines pages. Second, we invite you to leave comments and feedback on this website's Feedback page. You can also contact us by emailing


1. How did NHA arrive at proposing 95 new units for the Linden & Chambers site?

From a design perspective, Lead Architect BH+A conducted studies to determine the maximum number of units that could be feasibly built on the site. With further analysis, the team reduced the number of additional units to 95, which the team believes to be an appropriate increase in density given the characteristics of the site and the surrounding neighborhoods. From a funding perspective, the development team studied the optimal size of the development to maximize the financing available for construction. Replacing the 152 worn out units and adding 95 new units turns out to be the “sweet spot” — the optimal balance between the number of units the site can reasonably and attractively accommodate, and the amount of available funding to support the project.

2. Has the design team evaluated all scenarios to spread out density on the site (e.g. do 2-story instead of 4-story replacement buildings)?

BH+A has studied various development scenarios at the site. Wetlands, grading, and soil conditions limit the development potential to the northern three-quarters of the site, which is long and narrow. Because of this, spreading out density on the site drastically lowers the number of units which can be constructed. 

Spreading out density would also mean a larger building footprint with more elevators, mechanical equipment, and materials, increasing per-unit construction costs to levels that are prohibitively expensive to fund. Needham's strict energy-related building code requirements can only be met cost-effectively with a more compact and multi-story design as is currently proposed for the project.

3. How much parking will there be on site and how does that compare to what exists now?

The proposed project will provide 130 parking spaces across the 247 units at Linden & Chambers Street, which represents a parking ratio of slightly more than 0.5 parking spaces per unit. This is a slight increase compared to what exists today at Linden & Chambers Streets. NHA utilizes assigned parking and thus has good historical data on parking usage by our existing residents, which confirms that a 0.5-to-1 parking ratio should be adequate given the site's proximity to transit and Town services. The proposed design includes parking that is centrally located to building entrances to encourage residents to use the lot rather than park along Linden Street.

4. How will the Linden Street project impact traffic in the neighborhood?

NHA understands that the traffic impact of the proposed redevelopment is an important matter. A traffic conditions assessment was completed by engineering consultants at the Pare Corporation as part of the concept report for Linden and Chambers Streets. 

The report is the basis for a more detailed Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) that studies the impact of the 136 units that will be constructed in Phase 1 for Linden Street. The final TIA will be reviewed as part of the Planning Board’s Site Plan Review in the Fall.

5. I'm worried that the proposed project will add to flooding issues in the neighborhood. How will the project address stormwater runoff?

Lead Architect BH+A has studied the drainage and runoff system in the area and has worked with Needham’s Department of Public Works to understand the neighborhood's existing infrastructure. The proposed Linden Street Redevelopment Project will be required by code to manage all stormwater on site so as not to increase stormwater runoff. This will be achieved by installing retention tanks below the parking lots that slowly pass stormwater from the site into the Town's stormwater disposal system. 


1. What are the projected sources and uses of funds for the Linden Street project?

The total current projected cost of the Linden Street project is approximately $84 million. Funding sources include $1.386 million in local CPA funding previously awarded in 2022 and $5.5 million in local CPA funding that NHA is requesting at Spring 2024 Town Meeting. The combined amount of these CPA funds is approximately 8% of the estimated total funding of $84 million needed to construct the Project. The remaining ~92% of the proposed budget is being raised from federal, state, and private sources. Every $1 of funding from the Town of Needham will leverage approximately $11.00+ in financing from other sources. Non-CPA funding sources have been maximized to the extent that NHA believes is feasible. The roughly 8% commitment from the Town of Needham is essential to attract the total funding needed for the project. Absent the CPA funding at the level proposed, it is unlikely that the project can be developed as currently envisioned.

For a complete list of proposed funding sources, please see the January 24, 2024 presentation to the CPC that is posted on the Project Documents tab of the project website.

2. What is the basis for the approximately $60 million projected cost of construction for Phase 1 to redevelop Linden Street?

The projected construction cost is based on an independent cost estimate produced by PM&C as part of the Schematic Design phase. The estimate takes into consideration cost escalation due to inflation between the time of the estimate and the start of construction, prevailing wage requirements, and a 5% mark-up on construction costs to account for meeting Passive House requirements which is mandatory for all large multi-family residential new construction projects in Needham. Please note that the construction cost will be updated as the project moves forward.

3. How does the $5.5M request for CPA funding meet the criteria of the 2023 Needham Community Preservation Act (CPA) Plan?

The 2023 Needham CPA Plan outlines eligibility criteria to receive CPA funding under the Community Housing category, which is defined as “low- and moderate-income housing for individuals and families” including senior housing. Units must serve residents whose annual income is less than 80% of the area median income (AMI).* The Redevelopment of Linden Street project is eligible for CPA funding because it will serve low-income senior and disabled residents with a maximum income threshold of 80% AMI as described in response to question 13 below. This Project meets the goals of the 2023 Needham Community Preservation Plan because it:

  • Addresses an urgent community need by preserving existing deeply affordable units and developing net new units.

  • Has strong support from other Town boards, committees, and residents.

  • Leverages a substantial amount of federal and state funding ($1 of CPA attracts ~$11 of non-Needham taxpayer funding).

*Town of Needham Community Preservation Plan. P.14.

4. What is the status of the Town’s approval for waiving property tax and building permit fees for the project?

In January 2024, NHA requested the Town to confirm that it will be waiving property tax and building permit fees for the Linden Street Project.

  • For building permit fees, the Town's policy already is that municipal properties are exempt from all Building Department fees.

  • At the time of the original Linden/Chambers development in the 1960s, the Town waived all "real estate taxes and Town assessments". An EOHLC condition for approving the funding for the Project is that the Town continue waiving property tax fees in perpetuity.

5. What are the proposed affordability restrictions for the Linden Street project?

The proposed zoning will require that all the units be “affordable housing units,” as defined in Section 1.3 of the Needham Zoning By-Law. The By-Law requires that these units be “affordable to and occupied by a household with income at or below eighty (80) percent of the area median income (AMI).” 

The State will require the original 72 units to be restricted to households earning 80% AMI, with rent based upon approximately 30% of a household’s income.

Another affordability restriction will be layered onto the project via the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Some residents may have incomes up to 80% AMI so long as the average income of residents in the development is at or below 60% AMI. EOHLC requires that 13% of units in a LIHTC-financed project be set aside for households at or below 30% AMI.

While the project will have these upper limits on income, there will be no lower limits. The current proforma, subject to State funding, has all 136 units supported by a federal or state voucher. This would enable all units in the proposed Linden Street project to house extremely low-income households. Regardless of their income level, residents will only pay 30% of their income towards rent.

6. NHA is planning for the modernization of its Seabeds and Cook federal public housing site simultaneously with the Redevelopment of Linden Street project. Are the two projects linked in any way?

In 2022, NHA embarked on its Preservation and Redevelopment Initiative (PRI), a 10-15 year plan to comprehensively address capital needs at all its properties. As part of the plan, NHA is repositioning its federal public housing at Seabeds Way, Captain Robert Cook Drive, and High Rock Estates. Repositioning means that these properties will transition from being funded as public housing to being funded by Section 8 project-based vouchers (PBVs). The higher operating income generated by the PBVs will enhance NHA’s ability to implement the Redevelopment of Linden Street. The repositioning of the federal properties will free up NHA “Faircloth Authority,” which is the ability to create new PBVs. Some of those new PBVs are anticipated for use as part of the Redevelopment of Linden Street. 

In April 2024, NHA decided to pursue an alternate path for repositioning at Seabeds and Cook (Section 22 streamlined conversion) that can move forward without the need for scarce tax-exempt bonds from the State. The Linden Street and Seabeds-Cook projects will not be competing with each other for funding.


1. What is the nature of the zoning relief NHA is hoping to achieve for the project?

NHA is seeking zoning approval for the Redevelopment of Linden and Chambers Streets via a Town Meeting vote on zoning warrant articles in May 2024, which would create a new “Affordable Housing District.” Zoning relief is not being sought via a Chapter 40(b) comprehensive permit. 

The Linden Street development is located in a Single Residence B (SRB) zoning district, while the Chambers Street development is located in the General Residence (GR) zoning district. Both Districts have similar use and dimensional standards that do not permit a multifamily, 4-story development. The existing Linden and Chambers Streets developments are preexisting non-conforming uses that were built pursuant to variances that were granted between 1957 and 1971.

Over the past several months, NHA has closely consulted with the Town of Needham Planning Board to craft the zoning warrant articles which will allow for the redevelopment of the Linden and Chambers Streets site "by right", subject to a Site Plan Review conducted by the Planning Board. The consultation process included several public presentations to the Planning Board, as well as a jointly hosted Planning Board Community Meeting in December 2023. As a result of this work, the Planning Board has agreed to be the proponent of the zoning warrant articles that will be presented to Spring 2024 Town Meeting for approval. 

The proposed zoning defines a new "Affordable Housing District" (AHD) with dimensional and use standards that will replace the current SRB & GR zoning of the ~11-acre Linden and Chambers site. Below is a table that compares selected dimensional requirements in the current and proposed zoning to the existing and proposed building. 

AHD Zoning Dimensions Table

2. How does the proposed zoning relief for a new Affordable Housing District dovetail with the Town’s MBTA Communities Act planning initiative?

The new Affordable Housing District (AHD) for Linden and Chambers and the Town's MBTA Communities Act initiative dovetail nicely to address the shortage of affordable housing across a wide range of income levels.

The new AHD requires that dwelling units are occupied by households with incomes at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI). Historically, NHA tenants have much lower income levels. It is expected that the tenants of redeveloped Linden Street property will average less than 60% AMI, with at least 10 units (13% of 76 units to comply with EOHLC standards) occupied by households with incomes of 30% AMI or less. For reference, for single person household, the 2023 Area Median Income in Needham is:

  • $82,950 for 80% AMI

  • $51,844 for 50% AMI

  • $31,150 for 30% AMI

The MBTA Communities Act is focused on substantially increasing housing production within 0.5 miles of commuter rail stations and bus stops, but has no specific requirement for affordable units. Communities may require the 10%-20% of the units in a project be affordable (less than 80% AMI), provided that it can be demonstrated that a reasonable variety of multifamily housing types can be built both above and below the affordability threshold. 

More details on what the Housing Needham (HONE) Advisory Group is proposing for the Town can be found on the HONE web page.

Needham Housing Authority

21 Highland Circle, Suite 10 Needham, MA 02494; Phone: (781) 444-3011; Fax: (781) 444-1089; Email:

NHA Website

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