4 Proposals Submitted for Senior Housing in Westminster
WESTMINSTER -- Four development groups have submitted proposals to build and manage apartments for seniors behind the senior center.
“We’re thrilled we got the four proposals,” said Town Planner Stephen Wallace. “They all seem to be quality proposals. We’ll go through them and pick a winner.”
The four developers are NewVue Communities of Fitchburg, Commonwealth Community Developers of Cambridge, SCG Development of Peabody, and Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Inc. of East Boston, he said.
Most of the applicants work in affordable housing or community development.
The town put out a request for proposals at the end of June. They were due Friday.
Wallace will give the proposals to a review committee, which plans to meet after Labor Day to discuss and make a decision. Town Administrator Karen Murphy, Council on Aging Director Sue Fisher, former Senior Center Building Committee chair Peter Normandin, local Realtor Brenda Albert, and Wallace are part are on the committee.
The town is looking for a group to develop 6.3 acres of town-owned land on West Street that is behind the senior center.
That land can accommodate up to 50 units that would be intended for low or moderate income seniors, according to the RFP. At least a quarter of units should be for households that make at or below 80 percent of the area median income.
The building should include accessible units, reflect the town’s historical and design character, and be energy efficient, the RFP states.
Wallace said the Massachusetts Housing Partnership helped the town develop the RFP and has provided guidance as it prepares to select a developer.
He was told the developer will need to go through the local permitting process and have permits in hand before applying for state funding next summer.
Most projects aren’t funded until the second or third year, Wallace said, which means the senior housing complex likely won’t break ground for at least three years.
Figures from the Council on Aging show there has been a 10 percent rise in the senior population in the past decade.
Seniors are among the groups in town with a demand for affordable housing, according to the town’s housing production plan updated in 2017.
Wallace said the town’s Wellington elderly community has a five-year waiting list for its 30 units.
The apartments behind the senior center would count toward the town’s affordable housing stock, which is below the state requirement of 10 percent, he said.
Westminster would need 162 units to meet the state’s target, the housing plan states. To help meet that goal, the town aims to add more than 50 affordable housing units by the end of 2023.
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