YWCA BOSTON at 140 Clarendon Street

Boston. MA
Historic, Mixed-Use Affordable Housing Occupied Rehab in the Heart of Boston

Beacon Communities worked with the YWCA to preserve and renovate the historic 13-story 140 Clarendon Street property in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay. The project involves converting hotel space and existing apartments into 210 units – a portion as affordable housing, with the remainder as supportive housing for the Pine Street Inn – while renovating and reconfiguring the existing lower floors for the YWCA office, Lyric Theater, and Snowden International School. These improvements will help the city and state expand service-enriched housing options, preserve iconic city institutions, and maintain diversity in the Back Bay.


An occupied rehab of this scale, situated in a congested urban area, presents myriad challenges requiring detailed coordination. The project team is working closely with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) to meet the City’s aggressive climate resiliency and carbon neutrality goals. The complexities associated with rehabbing and adapting an historic building for new uses while maintaining occupancy during construction present a balancing act for the team. Converting 66 existing hotel rooms and 62 SROs into studios with kitchenettes requires additional infrastructure to accommodate ventilation and plumbing. Petersen is also working to design new main electrical rooms to enable the use changes. We are also collaborating on stormwater retention system, to be incorporated into the building footprint deep in the sub-basement. Finally, the team is tasked with preserving historic interior finishes while updating building infrastructure to accommodate contemporary uses and energy regulations.


Our clients chose Petersen Engineering for this project based on our strong relationship, built over many years. Beacon Communities’ CEO shared that this project provides a rare chance to add high-quality housing for low-income residents in the increasingly costly core of the city.


This project begins construction in September 2021. We look forward to sharing results as the project unfolds.

Project Details


Beacon Communities and Mount Vernon Company


PCA, Inc.

Project Budget

Approximately $29 million


Design started in December 2020

Services Provided by Petersen Engineering

MEP/FP engineer of record