Former nursing home to become 72-unit affordable housing in North Revere
By Barbara Taormina
Following a favorable recommendation from the Zoning Subcommittee, the City Council voted to approve a change in the special permit for Broadway Capital CDPM, Inc. to increase the number of affordable units within a 72-unit development at 133 Salem St., the site of the former Annemark Nursing Home. The developers originally proposed including seven affordable units but were seeking to increase that to 18 affordable units in order to qualify for a $4.5 million state grant from MassHousing to encourage development of affordable housing.
Zoning Subcommittee members welcomed the idea of bringing more affordable homes to Revere, but they were not all pleased with the terms.
As part of the grant application, the developer is required to show city support for the project. Chief of Planning and Community Development Tom Skwierawski recommended waiving the developer’s required contribution of mitigation money to the Community Improvement Trust Fund. But several committee members opposed that plan, and Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto questioned the legality of such a waiver.
The next idea was to waive permitting fees, but Skwierawski said the fees had been paid and that wasn’t possible. So Skwierawski and developer Mikael Vienneau turned to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and received a commitment for $100,000 to fund the project and demonstrate Revere’s support.
“My problem with this is it’s costing the city instead of the developer,” said Zoning Subcommittee member Gerry Visconti. “Instead of putting money into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, you’re getting $100,000.”
Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino said he understood the concern that the city was putting in money that should be covered by the developer but added that it wasn’t the developer’s idea. “This is a good faith requirement from the state,” said Serino.
Zambuto suggested that the council’s willingness to amend the project’s special permit should be enough evidence of a “buy in” from the city. But other committee members agreed with Skwierawski that Revere’s need for affordable housing trumped other concerns.
“Revere is in desperate need of affordable housing so please guys, let’s pass this and make it happen,” said Skwierawski.
Both the Subcommittee and the City Council passed the request to change the special permit. Serino stressed again that the project is essentially the same and there is no increase in the final number of condos.