Six area housing projects get state funding help

Local affordable housing projects for moderate- and low-income families, veterans, seniors, and people with brain injuries have been given an infusion of key financing help from the state.

Six area projects were among 23 selected to receive $47.7 million in state and federal housing program subsidies and $16.7 million in state and federal low-income housing tax credits from the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

State officials announced the awards earlier this month at 525 Beach St. in Revere, where 30 affordable family apartments will be developed with the help of $710,629 in federal credits and $1.5 million in state subsidies.

“It was incredibly exciting to get the money, and we were honored they chose to actually announce the whole funding round in Revere,’’ said Ann Houston, executive director of the Neighborhood Developers, the nonprofit that is building the project.


In all, the state funds will help create or preserve 1,326 units of housing, of which 1,164 will be affordable to low- and moderate-income people, including 298 reserved for those with extremely low incomes.

A vacant, blighted commercial building will be razed to make room for housing as part of an ongoing effort by the developers to reenergize the Shirley Avenue neighborhood near Revere Beach. The nonprofit to date has done four affordable housing projects and helped revamp a neighborhood park.

With the state funding, the overall $10 million project is now set to break ground in September. “This is really the next step in working with a group of residents who are really committed to continuing to improve their neighborhood,’’ Houston said.

The nonprofit has partnered with Boston-based Mitchell Properties
on a similar revitalization in Chelsea’s Box District. Mitchell will receive $1.5 million in state subsidies and $366,000 in federal tax credits to construct 50 apartments, 21 of them affordable, on the former Standard Box factory site at 22 Gerrish Ave.

The construction is part of a $21 million project in which Mitchell also plans to develop 46 market-rate units at adjacent 44 Gerrish Ave., according to David B. Traggorth, Mitchell’s director of development. Work on 44 Gerrish Ave. is set to begin this spring, with 22 Gerrish slated to get underway in the summer.


“It is critical to the redevelopment of the Box District and creating a mixed-income community,’’ he said of the state funding. “This is the last piece of the Box District and making it feel like a cohesive community.’’

The Chelsea Jewish Foundation
and Affirmative Investments were awarded $1.1 million in federal and state tax credits and $1.5 million in state subsidies to develop 40 senior apartments, 37 of them affordable, in Winthrop, part of an $11 million joint venture with Temple Tifereth Israel.
A new, smaller temple will also be built on the site of the existing temple, which will be demolished.

“We are more than pleased,’’ said Adam Berman, chief operating officer of the foundation, a nonprofit that operates nursing care and assisted living facilities in Chelsea. He said with the state money in place, the project is targeted to begin this spring.

Supportive Living Inc. will get $600,000 in state subsidies for its project to convert a vacant former inn on Granite Street in Rockport to eight units of supportive, affordable housing for people with brain damage.

The Woburn-based nonprofit currently operates similar residences for brain-injured people in Lexington, North Reading, and Woburn. It is partnering on the Rockport development, Old Farm Rockport, with a group of families who privately raised nearly $1 million for the $2.4 million project.

With the state award, Supportive Living plans to begin construction in late spring, according to Peter Noonan, the group’s executive director.

“The grant allows us to move forward . . . and I was very happy when I heard we got it,’’ he said.


Winn Development
was awarded $2 million in federal and state tax credits and $2 million in state subsidies to convert a former mill building into 52 housing units, 26 of them affordable, on Jackson Street in Lowell.

The development, Counting House Lofts, is so named because the early 20th-century building once served as the counting house for textile mills. The project includes the renovation of space for the health clinic that will remain on the building’s ground floor.

Winn has previously converted two other Lowell mills to housing, including one next door to the Counting House Lofts site, according to Gilbert Winn, managing principal of the firm.

“These types of mills . . . are virtually impossible to redevelop without state support, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to renovate this historic building and to create mixed-income housing,’’ he said.

CHOICE Inc., a nonprofit affiliate of the Chelmsford Housing Authority, will receive $1.6 million in state housing subsidies for 13 units of affordable, supportive rental housing for veterans.

Eight of the units will be studio apartments that will be developed, along with shared community space, on a vacant lot on Manahan Street in Chelmsford. The other five will be veteran’s family units that will be located in renovated space in a vacant structure in Westford.  

David Hedison, executive director of the housing authority, said that the affiliate — whose full name is Chelmsford Housing Opportunities for Intergenerational and Community Endeavors — has privately raised about $1.2 million. The state grant will cover the remainder of the $2.8 million cost.

“It’s exciting for the veterans and all the veterans groups we are working with because they can’t wait for these units to come on line,’’ he said.

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