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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Elderly project progress slow

coolidgeschool.JPG
The former Coolidge School. (Photo: Bill Polo/Globe Staff0

WATERTOWN

Plans to convert the former Coolidge School into 38 rental apartments for people age 55 and over are progressing, albeit much slower than expected, says Gregory Watson, the town’s director of community planning and development.

Watson told the council this week that developer Bart J. Mitchell has secured the necessary permits and much of the financing for the $10 million project in the city's East End, but is still waiting to hear if he’ll be awarded more than $1 million in various state tax credits.

If approved, the renovation would likely get underway by early spring, Watson said. If Mitchell is not awarded the credits, the project would be delayed until May or June, he said.

Several councilors told Watson that they’re worried the developer’s financing plans sound shaky and could jeopardize the entire project if they fall through.

Watson assured the council the plans do not hinge on receiving the tax credits. Negotiations over the property lease are “substantially complete” and could be put before the council for a vote before year’s end, he said.

-– Christina Pazzanese

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