2nd of 2 affordable-housing plans draw fewer questions

Nonprofit to seek $19M as proposals face Redevelopment Board

Drawing of plan at 117 Broadway, October 2016Drawing of plan at 117 Broadway at Everett Street.

UPDATED, Nov. 7: About 18 residents, including a number of Housing Corporation of Arlington (HCA) board members, on Thursday, Nov. 3, saw the plan unveiled for 117 Broadway, where the Food Pantry and Food Link are now and where the Broadway Diner once was.

For this proposal, and one at Downing Square discussed nine days earlier, the nonprofit will be seeking a total of $19 million to pay for construction.

The Heights plan, which drew an estimated 45 people, spurred many more questions than the one aiming for Broadway. In fact, some in the latter audience were Downing Square neighbors who had missed that meeting.

Impact on Thompson?

Betty Stone, a Grafton Street neighbor, wondered about the impact of the 14 units of housing on the nearby Thompson School, whose expanding enrollment is requiring an addition, though the rebuilt school opened in 2013. The representatives for the architect, Davis Square of Somerville, could not say how many children the project may add.

Stone said she'd love to see a cafe or a restaurant in the retail space and hoped the sidewalks were wide enough for outdoor seating.

As to the building design, which is brick and has a rounded front at Broadway and Everett, as well as a stepped-back top floor, one speaker who lives near Downing Square said was "envious" of the look when compared with the plan for her neighborhood. A number of speakers Oct. 25 registered complaints about the design of the building across form Peter Pan Superette. You can see it here >> 

As to environmental concerns, Hallett said the Broadway site may have few. HCA's environmental consultant, GEI, will do soil tests, but it believes it will find sand, she said.

Of the 19,430-square-foot site, 5,000 square feet are for retail, with 17 parking spaces. Pam Hallett, HCA executive director, said the retail area is expected to include Food Pantry and may include Food Link, the recovery program, but a decision has not yet been reached about the latter.

Asked to comment, FoodLink cofounder DeAnne Dupont wrote Monday, Nov. 7: "The Food Link board has not made a decision, as construction will not begin for over a year on the space." She added that the "board feels that being a tenant of HCA would work well for us."

The building will consist of 10 two-bedroom units, two three-bedroom units and two one-unit bedrooms, with an entrance to units at Everett.

Called 'terrific site'

"What a terrific site it is," said Davis Square Principal Clifford J. Boehmer. The architect said he is very much aware of nearby open space, Lussiano Field next to the Thompson School.

He and associate Paul Warkentin said the firm considered the scale of nearby buildings in the neighborhood. They noted the gas station as an area that can include commercial uses. The neighborhood is called walkable and near public transit.

A questioner ask about impact of the 34-unit Downing Square on Peirce School, and Hallett said she understood two classrooms were empty.

Here is a link to the Broadway project >> Hallett says sheet A206 is an incorrect rendering.

Both projects have 100-percent affordable-housing units.

Because all HCA projects have at least five and sometimes seven funding sources, each with its own application, she wrote, combining the projects reduces the number of applications by half. "This gets the projects in the ground faster as well," she 

wrote.

Hallett hopes to submit plans for state review in December and present a full application next March. The earliest construction might begin on both projects is in the spring of 2018.

Those on a waiting list of 1,000 households, an estimated 300 of them in Arlington, will vie through a lottery once the two new projects are much further along.


Oct. 26, 2016: Downing Square affordable-housing plans draws range of comment as 45 attend


This announcement was published Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, and updated Nov 6, to a news summary, and again Nov. 7, to add comment.

 
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