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GA Blog: Peabody

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1.10.19 Housing Watch: Developers Down-Scaling - Meeting Sheds Light on Plans for Vacant Hospital in Peabody

Developers say they plan to significantly reduce the number of planned condos down from 135 units when they redevelop the former J.B. Thomas Hospital on King Street. 

Those living in the tight-knit Emerson Park neighborhood, which consists mainly of single and two-family homes, have been concerned about the vacant hospital being redeveloped into a large condo project, which would be restricted to age 55 and older.

More on this project from The Salem News.

Peabody

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1.8.19 Housing Watch: 48 Units of Housing Proposed for Old Factory Building in Downtown Peabody

The owners of an old chemical factory building at the corner of Howley and Walnut streets want to convert the brick, three-story structure into housing. And they say, this is in line with the city's vision for downtown Peabody. 

Attorney Jack Keilty, who represents the Flomp family, said the goal is to keep the existing building at 26 Howley Street, but turn it into as many as 48 apartments or condos. This would be accomplished by rezoning two parcels from a general business district to a business central district, which would allow housing by special permit from the City Council. 

More here from The Salem News

Peabody

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9.12.18 Housing Watch: Tenants at the Tannery in Peabody Could See Rents Triple if Building is Sold

The clock is ticking for tenants of Tannery I, an affordable apartment complex on Crowninshield Street.

Unless the WinnCompanies of Boston, one of the largest managers of multifamily housing in the U.S., can come up with millions to match a market rate offer from another buyer for the property within a month, rents in the 235 affordable apartments could skyrocket.

Constructed in 1915 at the former A.C. Lawrence Tannery, the seven-story masonry building was converted into housing in the 1970s with financing from MassHousing. The state’s affordable housing bank provides developers with incentives, such as low interest mortgages, in exchange for keeping rents low. 

More from The Lynn Item.

Peabody

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5.18.18 Housing Watch: South Peabody May See More Development

South Peabody, which has seen significant development in recent years, may be looking at an additional 24-unit subdivision being built in an area abutting Ralph Road. Plans for the Stonegate project will be reviewed by the Planning Board on June 7th. Residents will have an opportunity to voice any concerns at a meeting to be held prior to the Planning Board review. For more details see this article from the Salem News.

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3.29.16 State Funds Assisting in Local Infrastructure Projects

Lower Millyard in Amesbury, MA

The Newburyport Daily News reports that Gov. Charlie Baker, who took office a year ago, wants to expand the popular MassWorks program as part of a five-year, $1 billion plan to rejuvenate communities still struggling to take advantage of the Commonwealth’s recent economic upswing.

Massworks is a program under the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development designed to help cities and towns upgrade their infrastructure. Governor Baker’s plan calls for borrowing $500 million over five years to boost funding for MassWorks by nearly 35%.  To date, MassWorks has parceled out more than $330 million in grants.

North of Boston communities - including Newburyport, Salisbury, Amesbury, Salem, Lawrence, Haverhill, Peabody, and Beverly - have received more than $42 million since the MassWorks program got underway. These projects include:

  1. Amesbury - a 1.6-acre site in the Lower Millyard quarter is now Heritage Park, where a private developer continues work on a multi-story complex of housing, office and retail space [pictured above].
  2. Haverhill - along the Merrimack River in Haverhill, a once-tired cityscape has been revitalized with a new boardwalk and parks, spurring private investment in a new complex of offices, storefronts and housing.
  3. Peabody - leaders plan to reconfigure traffic-choked Peabody Square by moving a Civil War monument and adding street lights, trees and crosswalks, in hopes of luring investment downtown. Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt said the money has been vital to the city’s downtown. “It’s helped make the downtown safer for pedestrians and more attractive,” he said. “And it’s paid off for us with significant properties being purchased by new developers who have exciting plans for the downtown.”

No match needed:  Andrew Herlihy, director of the Haverhill’s community development department, said an aspect of MassWorks that makes it so attractive is there are no requirements for communities to match the investment.  In addition to boosting MassWorks funding, Baker’s economic development proposal asks for $50 million for a separate MassDevelopment program that makes longterm equity investments in properties in “gateway cities” such as Lawrence, Methuen, Salem and Haverhill.

Previous local MassWorks grants:

  • Amesbury 2015:  enhancements to the Intersection of Route 110 and Route 150, $1,107,812, including signal upgrades, intersection modifications, and the construction of new sidewalks to Amesbury’s downtown. The improvements will allow the construction of Amesbury Heights, a 240-unit housing development, to begin in the spring.
  • Newburyport 2015: increased sewer capacity and sidewalk extension, $2,000,000, allowing Newburyport to leverage $4.45 million committed by the city to increase sewer capacity and extend sidewalks in the recently adopted 40R Smart Growth district. The infrastructure improvements will support a $16.5 million 80-unit mixed-use development located next to the MBTA commuter rail station and enable the future construction of 440 units in the 40R District.
  • Salisbury 2014: Salisbury Square Water System Improvement, $1,708,769, to upgrade the water distribution system in the town center. The replacement of existing water mains and the addition of new mains will enable the Spalding School site and 29 Elm St. to be developed into 42 housing units. The MassWorks award leverages $9 million in private investments for this project and creates opportunities for additional redevelopment in the area. 
  • Amesbury 2013: Lower Millyard Water Street Improvement Project - Amesbury’s Lower Millyard has been the focus of a significant economic development and mill revitalization effort in the downtown. The MassWorks award allowed for the realignment and addition of streetscape improvements to Water Street providing for increased pedestrian and traffic safety. The city voted to invest $5.9M in the relocation of the DPW yard, $1.5M for the construction of Heritage Park and Merrimack Valley RTA has invested $7M in its Transportation Center. The city estimated 289 housing units could be created in the Lower Millyard area.
  • Amesbury 2011:  In 2011, EOHED awarded a $1,250,000 grant through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to reconstruct roadway infrastructure to support the development in the Lower Millyard section of the City of Amesbury. As the sole access to the Lower Millyard, Elm Street has numerous safety issues affecting the development of the area including roadway deterioration, lack of defined sidewalks, 90-degree turns, missing curbing, poor drainage, and increased traffic at severely restricted intersections. The improvements are critical to the Lower Millyard revitalization and will allow for the expansion of existing industries and the construction of new rehabilitated facilities.

Read the entire Newburyport Daily News article.

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1.4.16 Proposed 96-Unit Chapter 40B Housing in Peabody off Route 114

According to the Salem News, a Peabody Developer is proposing to build a 96-unit housing project on undeveloped land off Route 114 in Peabody, currently featuring a Verizon store and Sleepy’s, in between between Mt. Pleasant Road, Richartson Road and Hog Hill Road, a neighborhood near Brooksby Farm on the other side.

The would-be developer is James Decoulos and his three brothers (sons of Peabody attorney and developer Nicholas Decoulos), whose family previously built the Verizon store and Sleepy’s complex, located at 262 Andover Street.

This project is planned under the state’s Chapter 40B law, which would allow the developers to bypass local zoning regulations since the city has less than 10% of its housing stock classified as “affordable” under Chapter 40B guidelines. Those guidelines use a ratio of housing costs to income that ensures housing is affordable for people who earn up to 80% of the area median household income. Because Peabody is under the 10% threshold, developers can bypass local zoning boards and seek a comprehensive building permit directly from the state Housing Appeals Committee.

Plans, permitting and discussions seem to be in early stages at this point.  

Read the entire Salem News article.

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