By Jennie Oemig
A new affordable housing project being eyed for a 5-acre plot of vacant land at 108 Sohier Road will receive $250,000 in Community Preservation Act funding.
The development, called Anchor Point, is a project established by Harborlight Community Partners, a non-profit devoted to providing affordable housing on the North Shore.
“The project offers a lot of advantages and benefits, and fulfills a deep need in Beverly,” said Marilyn McCrory, chairman of Beverly’s community preservation committee (CPC).
The CPC voted unanimously to recommend funding for the project, and the Beverly City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to green light that funding. “I think we all agreed it was a very strong project in the housing category,” McCrory said. “All of the units that Harborlight is proposing to build will be affordable. It’s a large number of new units, which we haven’t seen a lot of coming before either the community preservation committee or the city.”
In addition to money from the CPC, the project will leverage a tremendous amount of funding from other sources, to the tune of $18 million.
“We asked for early approval of the funding so that Harborlight could meet a state funding grant application deadline,” McCrory explained.
The CPC allocation will help fund the first phase of the Anchor Point project, which will include 38 two- and three-bedroom affordable housing units.
The appropriation will consist of $68,000 from the community preservation housing reserve fund and $182,000 from the community preservation general reserve fund balance.
Beverly Planning Director Aaron Clausen said the establishment of the city’s 40R Smart Srowth Overlay zoning helped accommodate the project.
“Not only did we receive an incentive payment for creating the district, but there’s also opportunity for a bonus payment once the project starts … 40S payments going forward to deal with the delta between the cost of providing education to the students that move to that site,” he said.
In addition to CPA funding, Beverly’s Housing Trust has also committed $200,000 to the project.
“This is truly a project that we’ve supported from top to bottom,” Clausen said. “It is the mayor’s priority … This is a path that we have all been collectively walking down for the past four to five years in trying to identify a project to provide a deep need in terms of affordable housing and homeless families.”
The complex would include fenced-in playgrounds for smaller children, a half- court basketball area, an open playing field, and raised bed community gardens, according to Harborlight’s funding application. The first phase would have about 80 parking spaces.
A second phase for the Anchor Point development will include the addition of more apartments and communal space. When completed, the project site will consist of three separate buildings: two apartment complexes containing a total of 75 units, and a facility for community activities.
Andrew DeFranza, executive director of Harborlight Community Partners, said due to unwieldy construction costs, it’s likely the community building will only contain one level instead of the two that were originally proposed.
“The second story in that community building was largely going to be organizational offices,” DeFranza explained. “All the residential programming space is intact.”
Housing at Anchor Point will be for families earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income. A percentage of the units will also be set aside for families who are coming out of homelessness.
If state funding is approved, construction on the project would likely begin next summer.
Original article from Wicked Local.