Last Milestone: Council Unanimously Approves TIF Agreement for Central Avenue

It was an early Christmas present for the residents of the Innes Apartments and Corcoran Development at the City Council’s Dec. 23 meeting.

The Council voted 9-0 to approve a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) agreement allowing Corcoran Development and the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) to redevelop the Innes Apartments into a mixed-income community with new public housing units and new market-rate units – along with parking and some retail portions.

Councillors Giovanni Recupero and Enio Lopez were not present for the meeting, and so did not vote on the matter.

The 15-year TIF will give the developer a tax savings of about $6.5 million over 15 years, while still bringing more than $4.6 million into the City coffers over that time.

While there was some discussion at a Council subcommittee meeting earlier in December about the 100-page document being dropped on the councillors desks without time to scour the agreement, the Dec. 23 public hearing on the TIF was more of a pro forma event.

One representative from the Corcoran Company spoke in favor of the TIF, alongside Chelsea Housing Authority Board member Juan Vega and City Manager Thomas Ambrosino.

“It’s been a very long process, and I appreciate your diligence,” Vega told the Council. “In order to carry this out for the residents of Central Avenue, there are a lot of preparations that have to happen for the families.”

Ambrosino said the City has worked hard to make the project a reality, providing new, quality homes for the residents currently living in the 96 Innes Development apartments.

“This is the last milestone to make this project a reality,” Ambrosino said.

The terms of the 15-year TIF include an 80 percent reduction in new value the first five years, 60 percent the second five years, and 50 percent for the final five years.

In addition to the 96 CHA affordable housing units on the site, there will be 40 income-restricted units and 196 market-rate units in the 300,000 square-foot mixed-use, mixed-income development.

Groundbreaking for the Innes Development should take place in the fall of 2020, with completion in January or February of 2022, Jen Corcoran of the Corcoran Company said at a Zoning Board meeting in November.

•In other business during the last Council meeting of the year, the Council also approved several zoning amendments. One allows for the storage of taxi cabs in industrial districts, the second cleans up some language in the Community Improvement Trust Fund, and the third allows for small, 5-G wireless transmitters on existing utility poles by right.

Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson gave the City Manager some homework over the holiday break, requesting updates on the Forbes, Midas Muffler, Sixth Street, and Everett Avenue properties.

•It was not only the last Council meeting of the year, but the last meeting for three councillors, Luis Tejada, Robert Bishop, and Joe Perlatonda. 

Each was given a plaque by a fellow council member and thanked for their time and service to the city.

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