State Announces Funding for Briscoe Seniors Housing Project | New


BEVERLY – When Nancy Bourque was a sophomore at Briscoe in 1965, she and the rest of the students literally carried their books across the street to move into the new high school.

That memory came back to Bourque on Thursday when she attended an event marking a new step in the planned transformation of the Briscoe building into affordable housing for seniors. The state’s top housing official came to Beverly to announce that the project would receive $ 3.4 million in state funding and $ 4 million in federal and state tax credits, a boost which officials say puts the new building on track to open in 2024.

“It’s fantastic,” Bourque said of the project. “The people at the Senior Center are a little tickled. Everyone has memories there of when they were in school. They are interested in what is developing.

The project will create what will be called Beverly Village for Living and the Arts. It will include 85 affordable seniors apartments, six live artist studios and a community theater in the auditorium. The existing playground behind the building will be preserved as a public park, while the facade of the building known as the “turf bowl” will also remain public.

During a ceremony held in a small tent outside Briscoe, officials spoke of the urgent need for more affordable housing in Massachusetts. Michael Kennealy, Secretary of State for Housing and Economic Development, noted that the state’s housing production over the past 30 years is half of what it was in the previous 30 years.

“We really need it,” Kennealy said. “We’ve been in the midst of a Massachusetts housing crisis for a very long time.”

“It’s an incredible development,” added Kennealy. “An incredible and thoughtful reuse of a school building with a theater and senior housing. It will just be wonderful to see.

He said the Briscoe project is one of seven affordable housing projects in the state that will receive funding under the state’s rental housing rapid production program. The others are in Attleboro, Brockton, Holyoke, Lawrence and two in Boston. In total, the projects will receive more than $ 30 million in direct funding as well as state and federal tax credits that will bring in $ 200 million in equity, according to the state.

The Briscoe Project is carried out by Harborlight Community Partners, a Beverly-based affordable housing agency, and Boston-based real estate company Beacon Communities, along with other partners. Harborlight and Beacon bought the building from the city for $ 600,000 in 2019.

Briscoe, located at 7 Sohier Road, was built in 1923 and served as a high school, middle school, and college until it closed in 2018. The city issued a tender for the historic building, with the stipulation that ‘it is preserved and not demolished.

Mayor Mike Cahill said the new apartments could be ready by 2024.

“It sounds a long way off, but, boy, in the complicated financial world of authorizing and securing tax credits, I think it’s probably as fast as anything could get,” Cahill said. .

Bourque lives in Turtle Woods, another senior housing complex in Beverly run by Harborlight Community Partners, and said she is very happy where she is. But she said many seniors who find it too expensive to stay in their homes will be interested in Briscoe’s new apartments.

“I think people would jump at the chance,” she said.

Those wishing to live in the new apartments will be chosen from among the qualified applicants. Applications are not yet available, but anyone interested can email Harborlight Community Partners at [email protected]

Editor-in-Chief Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

Editor-in-Chief Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter at @heardinbeverly.

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