Skip to main content

NORTHAMPTON — At a meeting Oct. 27, the Northampton Planning Board approved a site plan review submitted by Prospect Place LLC (Valley CDC) to create affordable housing with site improvements at 737 Bridge Rd.

Background

In the spring, Valley CDC purchased the former Northampton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at 737 Bridge Rd. for $2.6 million for 60 affordable housing and labor; using a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments, as well as a few studios.

“The current cost of the planned project is $25.3 million,” Valley CDC executive director Alexis Breiteneicher told Reminder Publishing in April. “This project will provide long-term affordable housing in Northampton and help reduce the current lack of affordable housing for people.”

The location, which has been vacant since 2011, has in the past been identified as a viable location for the town to alleviate some of the housing barriers Northampton residents face.

At a spring city council meeting, former director of planning and sustainability Wayne Feiden said that of the $25 million project cost, Valley CDC is asking Northampton to contribute about $1 million. dollars divided into three payments.

According to Breiteneicher, the proposed units would aim to attract people with incomes between 30 and 100 percent of the region’s median income. Projected rents will vary depending on where someone is in the area’s median income.

At the time, Breiteneicher estimated that a studio could rent between $720 and $1,150, a two-bedroom between $870 and $1,250, a two-bedroom between $1,090 and a three-bedroom between $1,265 and $1,265. $350.

In addition to affordable housing, Breiteneicher also said Valley CDC is exploring amenities such as an electric vehicle charging station, Valley BikeShare location and community garden spaces. However, they plan to keep the same footprint as the existing building.

“We will keep the exterior of the current building as it is in good condition, but the interior will undergo a complete renovation,” Breiteneicher said. “The current building has a lot of asbestos that needs fixing, there is water damage and all the electrical and HVAC needs to be replaced. The building must be fossil fuel free to comply with Northampton regulations and we are considering installing solar power (PV).

Planning Board Meeting

The Planning Council, which unanimously backed the project, released a list of conditions for the Valley CDC to add to its revised plans. The DPW has also proposed certain conditions which must be incorporated into the revised plans.

According to Planning Board Chairman George Kohout, Valley CDC will have to present these revised plans to the Planning Office and the DPW, which includes conditions regarding safety around the property – such as an additional pedestrian crossing on Allison and improved lighting. , among others.

Valley CDC must also submit final plan sheets with additional comments from DPW 15 days prior to building permit applications.

According to Jessica Allan, Valley CDC’s property manager, once they get their building permit, they plan to apply for public funding for the project in January. If awarded by the state, they will receive the award in August next year.

“We wouldn’t close financially until 2024,” Allan said. “And that’s when we started building. In terms of affordable housing development, it’s kind of early in the process for us.

In addition to the aforementioned amenities, Valley CDC is also looking to utilize 80 parking spaces and install two bike sheds to allow for multiple transportation uses. Additionally, they are also looking to remove some of the contention points causing traffic in the area by adjusting exit and entry to the location – along with other security improvements.

“We are grateful to have overwhelming neighborhood support for the project,” Breiteneicher said. “This property is a vacant eyesore so the adjoining neighbors are happy to have it renovated and used.”

“This is a significant project, not just for Ward 1 and the surrounding ward, but for the whole city,” Ward 1 councilor Stanley Moulton said at a previous city council meeting. . “I have already participated in two neighborhood meetings that Valley CDC has organized… in my opinion, Valley CDC has been very responsive to [traffic] concerns. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, both to the reuse of property and to the notion that the best use of that property is affordable housing. »

According to Breiteneicher, this project is a joint venture redevelopment between Valley CDC and the previous owner.