YW Boston building to become affordable housing complex


Beacon Communities and Mount Vernon Company (MVC) have entered into a purchase agreement with YW Boston to preserve the historic 140 Clarendon Street YWCA Boston property in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. The property will maintain a mix of residential, commercial, educational, and cultural uses and will convert the 66-room hotel and 118 apartments into 210 affordable apartments. Nearly half will be set aside as permanent supportive housing for individuals who have previously experienced homelessness. 


These improvements will help achieve significant progress toward crucial city and state goals of expanding service-enriched housing options for Bostonians, preserving iconic city institutions, and maintaining diversity in the Back Bay. In the context of COVID-19, this redevelopment will address housing needs for some of those most impacted by the pandemic.


In 2019, after careful consideration, YW Boston’s Board of Directors made the decision to sell 140 Clarendon Street. YW Boston has been committed to finding the right buyer to own this historic landmark. President & CEO Beth Chandler said, “We are very pleased to be working with Beacon Communities and Mount Vernon Company. The vision of today’s YW Boston is to help individuals and organizations create more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color in Boston can succeed. We believe our resources must be fully dedicated to this important work. We don’t have to think anymore about managing a building and, given all that’s going on in the world, we can focus on the work we need to do.”


Leading the redevelopment, Beacon Communities will undertake renovations of this historic building, ensuring that it remains home to the YW Boston offices as well as the Lyric Stage theater, a 250-seat theatre and a cultural gem with a 29-year history in this community, and the Snowden International School, an institution of Boston Public Schools system. With these anchor tenants remaining in place, this property will enable several well-known non-profit organizations to continue to operate in the Back Bay.


The Mount Vernon Company (MVC) saw the opportunity for a development that would benefit an underserved population in Boston. The exterior of the property, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and built in 1929 to house the oldest YWCA in the United States, will not change. Beacon CEO Dara Kovel said the project is a rare chance to add high-quality housing for low-income residents in the increasingly expensive core of the city.


Developers will file plans with the city Friday, December 11, 2020.





About YW Boston

As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. YW Boston’s mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Through DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as advocacy work and F.Y.R.E. Initiative, YW Boston helps individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, YW Boston is working to provide organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. As part of this work, YW Boston is helping organizations deliver on promises of greater racial equity and supporting workplaces looking to become socially connected while staying physically distant. For more information, please contact Sheera Bornstein at sheera@ywboston.org.