Two large-scale developments made their initial pass before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) last week.
Both the 330-unit, mixed income Innes Development on Central Avenue and the 62-unit affordable housing proposal for 25 Sixth Street by The Neighborhood Developers (TND) will be before the Planning Board later this month before heading back to the ZBA for final approvals in November.
The path for the long-awaited Innes Development was paved when the city approved a 40R smart growth overlay zone for the Central Avenue site earlier this year.
The Corcoran Company is working with the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) to replace the existing 96 CHA affordable housing units on the site. In addition, there will be 40 income-restricted units and 196 market-rate units in the 300,000 square-foot mixed-use, mixed-income development.
The 40R designation allows for the mixed-use development in an area near public transportation provided at least 20 percent of the housing units are offered at affordable rates, according to Chelsea Planning Director John DePriest. The Innes project comes in with an affordable housing rate of just under 30 percent.
“We’ve been working very closely with the Innes Residents’ Association,” said Jen Corcoran of the Corcoran Company. All residents who currently live in the Innes development will be invited to return at the same CHA rate.
“There will be a washer and dryer in each unit and all the units will be indistinguishable,” said Corcoran, whether they are CHA units, income-restricted, or market rate.
There will be a 258 space parking garage, a rebuilt daycare center, and a retail space on the ground level on Central Avenue as part of the project.
During the fall and winter, the developer will be working with CHA residents currently in Innes on relocation options.
“This will be a single-phase construction for all 330 units and the garage and will take about 18 to 24 months,” said Corcoran. If the project were to be constructed in two phases, as initially proposed, Corcoran said the project would take up to four years to complete.
“We anticipate that we will have all the approvals by the end of this year and will relocate residents in the spring and summer,” said Corcoran. Work would then get underway in the early fall of 2020 with an anticipated completion in the winter of 2022.
“The city and the City Council are fully in support of this project,” said City Manager Thomas Ambrosino. “This has been in the works for a long time, and it will be life changing for the 96 tenants from the Chelsea Housing Authority. We have been working hand-in-hand with the Chelsea Housing Authority and the developer to make this happen.
“We know the residents have been waiting for this for a very long time, and we urge the board to expeditiously approve the site plan,” he continued.
The project will be before the Planning Board later this month and then back before the ZBA for final approvals on Nov. 12.
•The TND project on Sixth Street would create all affordable units, with the maximum preference given to Chelsea residents, according to Steve Laferriere, TND’s director of real estate development.
While the majority of the units will be rentals, unlike most recent TND projects, there also will be an ownership component of the project.
Fifty six of the units will be rentals, split between deed restrictions for people who make 30 percent, 60 percent, and 100 percent of the area’s Annual Median Income. Six of the units will be townhouses offered up for home ownership.
The project will also connect Sixth Street to the Silver Line and improve the streetscape along Sixth Street, Laferriere said.
City Councillor Judith Garcia said she is in favor of the project.
“This will address three of the main public and social issues Chelsea is facing,” Garcia said, including more development near public transportation, the need for affordable housing, and the lack of home ownership in the city.
City Councillor Joe Perlatonda said his main concern with the project is parking, which has 40 proposed parking spots.
“There does not seem to be enough there,” said Perlatonda.
Several residents spoke in favor of the project, noting the rapidly increasing price of housing and the need for affordable housing in Chelsea and beyond.
As with the Innes project, the TND development on Sixth Street will be before the Planning Board later this month and back before the ZBA for final approvals on Nov. 12.