The City Council recently gave its approval to the proposed sale of the former Salvation Army building at 440 Broadway to the Traggorth Companies for the development of affordable housing.
The city purchased the property several years ago for $1.3 million, and is looking to sell it for $1,150,000 to Traggorth to build 28 units of affordable housing, 18 of which will be rental units and the remaining 10 will be for home ownership. In addition, there will be retail space on the first floor for a communal kitchen for local entrepreneurs to develop their businesses.
“Our goal when we put this on the market and when we put this out for proposals was not to maximize our sale price, that was not the goal,” said City Manager Thomas Ambrosino. “The goal was to get a good affordable housing development, we were not particularly concerned about the sale price. In fact, this sale price is much higher than certainly I anticipated.”
Ambrosino said the request for proposals was structured to entice affordable home ownership and that city officials knew that could drive down the sale price.
District 5 Councillor Judith Garcia said she was in favor of the project and thanked Ambrosino and the city administration for working hard to add affordable housing units in the city.
“This project does not only address the need for affordable rental units, but also addresses the need for more home ownership opportunities,” said Garcia. “We have a mix of studios, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom apartments that really speak to the needs of families here. Anything that involves offering a mix of options to our families that is affordable is important.”
Garcia said the commercial component of the project with the communal kitchen space is also important.
“Entrepreneurs here in Chelsea can have the opportunity to really showcase their talents with food and any sort of entrepreneurship activities that they really wish to engage in without having to worry about the high cost of renting a space on their own,” said Garcia. “This is a triple impact opportunity for us to support local entrepreneurs, many of them at the base level, and it’s also an opportunity to support affordable homes with a mix of affordable homes that are not only rental units but also home ownership opportunities.”
Council President Roy Avellaneda said the 10 home ownership units will be sold at 80 percent of the Greater Boston area Annual Median Income (AMI), while the rental units will be offered at 50 percent and below AMI.
As part of the deal with the city, Traggorth would also rehabilitate and extend the affordability of 17 units of affordable housing it owns at 466 Broadway.
Ambrosino has stated that the project is consistent with Chelsea’s affordable housing and economic development objectives, specifically to spur affordable home ownership, enhance the vitality of the Broadway corridor, and provide a range of housing types for residents.