A proposal for a 72-unit condominium development at the site of a former nursing home on Salem Street has the support of several city councillors, but several neighbors are concerned about traffic and the size of the project.
Last Monday night, the City Council held a public hearing on the request for a special permit from Broadway Capital in Chelsea to convert the West Revere Health Center at 133 Salem St. to a mixed-use development with 71 condominium units and one office. Developers plan to use the existing structure, update it and add one story to the three-story building.
The project will go before the City Council’s Zoning Subcommittee before the full City Council takes a vote on the special permit.
“We will have all condominiums; these will be owner-occupied condominiums and not rentals, not apartments,” said Mikael Vienneau, the managing director of Broadway Capital. “Based on the feedback that we got from the neighborhood and also some of the City Council members, that’s really important to this development – to have the owner-occupied usage.”
The building has been a nursing home for nearly four decades, most recently operating as the West Revere Health Center with 140 beds since 2015.
“From a site planning standpoint, there is really no change to the building footprint,” said architect Peter Vanko.
Vanko said the plan is to update the existing building to make it less harsh and make it more modern. “From the street, it’s a modern building and it’s going to feel more like a 21st-century building,” said Vanko. “It’s going to step into what modern buyers are looking for.”
The building will have 25 two-bedroom units, and the remainder will be one-bedrooms and studios, Vienneau said.
Several residents who live near 133 Salem St. said they were concerned about increased traffic, sewerage issues and the number of units.
George Wolfe said he lives at a 26-unit development on a larger piece of land nearby on Salem Street. “To put that amount of units in that spot is going to be tough,” said Wolfe, adding that he also has concerns about traffic and trash. “I think it’s a great thing that it’s going to be developed; I just think that 72 units is way too many.”
Vienneau said there will be a traffic study completed before the developer comes before the Zoning Subcommittee.
Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino said he had some initial concerns about the proposal, but said he supports it. “It’s very rare that a developer comes forward before our council and seeks permission to redevelop an existing building into condominiums in which people will be able to invest in property in our city,” said Serino.
Ward 5 Councillor Al Fiore echoed Wolfe’s sentiments that 72 units are too many for the property. “I do agree that something needs to go there, but it’s too many units,” he said. “Over the years, we’ve seen the same pitch over and over again, and I can appreciate that they are condos, because we really haven’t developed any condos in the city – it’s been all apartments – but we’re going to have to work with the residents. The numbers are too much for my liking.”