Quincy, Taunton, 3 towns get affordable-housing funds
A fresh infusion of state funds has provided a boost to four projects to expand and retain low-cost housing in the region.
The projects in Duxbury, Middleborough, and Quincy, and a dual one in Wareham and Taunton, are among 24 that will share in $83.6 million in state and federal resources provided by Governor Deval Patrick’s administration to create or preserve affordable rental units.
Aaron Gornstein, undersecretary of the state Department of Housing and Community Development, said in an interview that the need for more affordable housing in the state remains great, even with the economy improving.
“We have a shortage of affordable rental properties, and the rents, particularly in Greater Boston, have gone up over the past year, so there are still many working families struggling to make ends meet and to be able to afford their housing costs. In addition, we have many seniors and people with disabilities that also need affordable housing,” Gornstein said.
In addition to addressing that need, the projects that are awarded funding “are helping the economy by creating construction jobs,” he said.
The Neighborhood Corporation, of Taunton, and Boston-based Neighborhood of Affordable Housing will receive $1.3 million for Shoe Shop Place, their joint project to convert a historic mill building near downtown Middleborough to 24 affordable rental units. The award consists of $444,600 in federal low-income tax credits and $815,000 in state housing subsidies.
A prior developer received a comprehensive permit from the town to convert the site to a 30-unit condominium under Chapter 40B, the state’s affordable-housing law.
But the project never went forward, and with town support the Neighborhood Corporation in 2011 won approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals to amend the permit for its planned project, according to Dean Harrison, executive director of The Neighborhood Corporation.
Constructed in three portions from 1896 to 1911, the building at 151 Pearce St. was originally the Leonard Shaw and Dean shoe factory, which operated until 1930. Other businesses then occupied the building until 2001, and it has been vacant since, according to Harrison.
The $9 million project, whose other funding sources include $40,000 from Middleborough’s Community Preservation Act fund, calls for a complete rehabilitation of the interior and an historic restoration of the exterior.
The work will begin early next year and take about 12 months.
“The community has been extremely supportive,” Harrison said. “They see the need. We are definitely serving a population that is underserved in our region. So I’m quite excited we are finally getting the funding we need to make this a reality.”
The state awarded Beacon Communities $5.54 million for Island Creek Village North, its planned development of 94 affordable units for people 55 and older in Duxbury. The award includes $4.54 million in state and federal low-income housing tax credits and $1 million in subsidies.
The housing will be located in a single building on vacant land behind the existing Island Creek Village, a complex of mixed-income housing and offices, according to Pamela Goodman, chief executive officer of Boston-based Beacon. Her firm is buying the vacant site from the owner of Island Creek Village.
Goodman called the state award “critically important” to the $27 million project. She said her organization is confident it will be able to complete the financing package in time to start construction in spring 2015.
Beacon has carried out a number of developments in the region in recent years, including Ocean Shores, 97 units of affordable rental housing for people 55 and older in Marshfield, and the Ames Shovel Works, a historic restoration of the old Ames Shovel Works complex in North Easton that has 113 mixed-income apartments.
The development in Duxbury calls for the units to be housed in a new four-story building at Tremont Street that is being designed to meet high-energy-efficiency standards.
“We are very excited to be working in Duxbury. The town has been very supportive,” Goodman said. “We think this housing will be a great resource for the people of Duxbury.”
The Kingston-based South Shore Development Corp. will receive $2.85 million for two projects to renovate and preserve 56 affordable units at two sites: Cranberry Manor in Wareham and Carpenter’s Glen in Taunton.
The award consisted of $295,541 in federal low-income housing tax credits and $2.55 million in subsidies.
Built in the 1960s, Cranberry Manor is a four-building rental apartment complex of 24 units. South Shore Development Corp. bought the property on Cranberry Highway (Route 28) in about 1995 and has managed it since, according to John Hixson, the organization’s development projects manager.
The project calls for a “moderate overhaul” of the buildings, Hixson said, including installing sprinklers, updating the heating systems, new roofs, siding, and entryways, other exterior improvements, and a new playground.
A similar upgrade is planned for Carpenter’s Glen, a complex of seven townhouse buildings with 32 units on County Street off Route 140 in east Taunton. The work will include new roofs and siding; upgrades to wooden porches and steps; some interior renovations; and redoing the parking, street area, and playgrounds.
Hixson said the renovation work at both sites is vital to preserving the units as affordable, noting that in tandem with the construction money, the state is providing expanded rental subsidies that will help his organization meet the cost of maintaining the two properties.
“This is a great day for all the residents there and really for both communities in general,” he said. “The cost of living across Massachusetts is just so high that people really need this kind of housing to be able to afford to live where they can get work.”
NeighborWorks of Southern Massachusetts was awarded approximately $4 million for a project to preserve 78 affordable units at Kendrigan Place in Quincy. The support consists of approximately $1.5 million in federal and state low-income housing tax credits and $2.5 million in subsidies, according to the state.