July 28, 2015: After a new senior center was built in Northborough, the previous building sat vacant. The Northborough Affordable Housing Corporation saw this as the perfect opportunity to invest CPA funds for housing designed for the community’s senior citizens.
The Northborough Affordable Housing Corporation was founded in 2008 because residents saw a lack of support for affordable housing in the town. Rick Leif, treasurer of the private corporation, explained that while CPA was adopted by Northborough in 2005, “for three years the 10% reserve for housing just sat in the account, unused. There were no proposed projects”. The corporation set out to find possible projects to put CPA dollars to good use and the senior center was the perfect place to start!
To rehabilitate the former senior center building for housing would have been too costly an undertaking for the town of Northborough. Instead, the town was able to demolish the small structure and build new units in its place. After the demolition was complete, the Corporation signed a 50 year ground lease with the Northborough Housing Authority giving them permission to build on housing authority land.
The property abuts previously established senior housing containing 32 units, owned and operated by the housing authority. The new development created an additional 4 units, one of which is handicapped accessible. The total budget for the development came to approximately $700,000, all of which came from public CPA funding. Construction began in fall of 2013 and residents were able to move in summer of 2014; those original residents still remain in the affordable units. The units are positioned to be included in the town’s Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI). The new units are also now managed by the Northborough Housing Authority while still owned by the Corporation.
This development is a unique example of a private entity (the Corporation) working to utilize publically-raised dollars (CPA funds) on public property (land owned by the Northborough Housing Authority). The Northborough Affordable Housing Corporation is looking to begin their next CPA-funded development in the near future after such a success with this development, according to Leif.