The Traggorth Companies has submitted the only RFP for the redevelopment of the City-owned, former Salvation Army store in the heart of Bellingham Square – an affordable housing and entrepreneurial retail mixed proposal with a host of exciting, local partners.
As a side to the RFP, if chosen, Traggorth said it would piggyback the 440 Broadway Salvation Army development with a $10 million renovation of an affordable housing building it already owns at 466 Broadway, where the McDonald’s is located.
“If they are selected, we are confident as a City in their project delivery and completion capabilities,” said Alex Train, director of the City’s Department of Housing and Community Development. “From our perspective we’re enthusiastic supporters of any affordable housing project and especially with homeownership opportunities in the downtown…We’re absolutely in support of it.”
Dave Traggorth, of the Traggorth Companies, has plenty of development experience in Chelsea, and has just embarked on construction at the old Midas site at the Chelsea/Revere City line. He said they were interested due to having been successful in Chelsea before, and also due to the chance to transform Bellingham Square.
“The project will transform the vacant former Salvation Army site…into a vibrant, mixed-use, mixed income building that will serve current and future residents of Chelsea, become a true community asset, serve as a launch point for many small, locally-owned businesses, and serve as a catalyst for future development,” he wrote. “I and our team have thoroughly enjoyed envisioning the future possibilities of 440 Broadway. We…hope to be able to continue to work with you to realize the important goals for this special place at the center of Chelsea.”
The development plan calls for demolishing the current building and constructing a new, seven-story building. The building would house 29 units of housing, with 10 of them being affordable home-ownership opportunities at 80 percent AMI. The ownership would be prioritized for local first-time homebuyers. The 19 rental units would be affordable at various levels, from 30 percent AMI to 60 percent AMI.
“These rentals would be truly affordable for the residents of Chelsea,” said Train.
The ground floor facing Broadway would be a unique partnership with Stop & Compare Supermarkets – which also has a location in Bellingham Square – to design and operate an entrepreneurial retail space. The space would have seven to eight stalls for culinary operations, and then a commercial kitchen facility in the back. Stop &Compare and the Hispanic American Instititue would operate the new retail venture. The idea would be to reach out to local food-based businesses in Chelsea and the immediate area to give them a chance to have a stall and use the kitchen – as Traggorth said, a launching point for those businesses just starting out or hoping to take a next step.
Parking would be located at ground level under the retail operation and accessible from the Luther Place parking lot and Cherry Street.
The City would agree to sell the property to Traggorth for $1 million, though they paid $1.2 million for the Eminent Domain taking a few years ago. The increase in tax revenues and the catalyst for other development around it, Train said, would more than make up for the $200,000 difference.
He also said he wasn’t disappointed that the City didn’t receive any other bids, as he heard from several affordable housing developers that they had too much on their plates at the moment.
“Traggorth was the only one that came in because the affordable housing developers in Chelsea like TND have a robust pipeline and funding is scarce,” he said.
Being chosen for the project would also unlock a $10 million rehabilitation and 30-year affordable housing recertification of an expiring 17-unit, two retail unit building one door down at 466 Broadway. They would completely overhaul the property along with the recertification, including restoring the outside masonry, new systems, new electricity, new plumbing, finish carpentry and appliances.
Altogether, both would represent a $25 million investment in the heart of downtown Chelsea.
Traggorth would look to execute a Land Disposition Agreement this year with the City, if approved, and complete permitting by the end of the year as well. The next step would be to get the project into the state Affordable Housing pipeline, which could come in 2022 or 2023. Completion could come as soon as summer 2025.
A presentation on the proposal will be made to the City Council on Aug. 4 at 6 p.m.