Council Deliberates on Central Ave. TIF: Sends It to Subcommittee Ahead of Hearing

During its final meeting of the year, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax breaks for the Innes Apartment Redevelopment Project.

The hearing will be held during the Council’s regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Dec. 23, at City Hall.

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino is requesting the Council approve a 15-year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Agreement for the project. If approved, the TIF will give the developer a tax savings of about $6.5 million over 15 years, will still bringing over $4.6 million into the City coffers.

“Many of you are familiar with at least some aspect of this innovative joint venture between the Chelsea Housing Authority and developer Joseph J. Corcoran,” stated Ambrosino in a letter to the City Council. “The project involves the demolition of the existing 96 unit Innes Apartment public housing development and the construction on that site of a new, $120 million development of 330 residential units and 7,000 square feet of commercial space.”

Within the development, 96 units scattered throughout the complex will be reserved for Chelsea Housing Authority tenants, effectively replacing the outdated 96 units on the current site.

“Given the death of funding in the Commonwealth for the rehabilitation of existing public housing properties, this project provides a rare opportunity to develop new affordable housing for existing public housing tenants,” the City Manager stated. He added that because the affordable component of the project is so significant, a generous amount of public support is needed to make the project viable.

The Chelsea Housing Authority is providing the land for the project, and the state is kicking in approximately $22 million in a combination of direct funding and infrastructure grants.

The City’s contribution consists of relief on building permit fees, a share of 40R funding provided by the state, and if approved by the Council, the property tax (TIF) relief.

The TIF proposed for the Innes project includes 80 percent tax relief for the first five years, 60 percent for the second five years, and 50 percent for the third five-year stretch. 

Ambrosino noted that the parcel currently brings in no tax dollars for the City.

“The city has been supportive of the project because it promises significant housing benefits to 96 economically disadvantaged families in Chelsea,” stated Ambrosino. “The reality is that, without this project and the TIF proposed here, these units will likely remain in their current distressed condition for many years.”

The Council approved a request by District 5 Councillor Judith Garcia to hold a subcommittee conference meeting to address any questions about the project, although Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson said there wasn’t really a need for a subcommittee date since there will be a public hearing before the vote.

Ambrosino said he was not opposed to a subcommittee meeting, as long as it is held before the scheduled Dec. 23 public hearing.

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