Developer to present next phase of workforce housing project in SalemBy Ryan Lessard
Union Leader Correspondent
September 05. 2018 11:34PM
SALEM — Developer Steve Lewis is proposing a 38-unit subsidized housing development for lower-income residents, a proposal that will go before the Planning Board at its next meeting on Sept. 13, according to Town Planner Ross Moldoff.
Lewis said the three-story 44,000-square-foot building will be “identical” to the 32-unit building already on Braemoor Woods Road. The new building will be behind it.
“You will not see it from Veterans Parkway,” Lewis said.
Some communities are sensitive about adding “workforce housing” projects meant to make rental units affordable to lower-income residents using tax credits and rent controls.
Lewis said 75 percent of the units will be available to renters who earn 60 percent of median income, while the remaining 25 percent will be available to people earning 50 percent of median income.
It will cost an estimated $4.2 million to construct, Lewis said. The first building cost about $3.2 million. Besides having a few extra units in the second building, Lewis attributed the higher cost to building costs going up in the past six years.
Salem doesn’t have much subsidized housing, and what subsidized housing it does have was built by Lewis. Aside from the first phase of workforce housing, he also built a subsidized senior housing project called Glen Ridge.
Moldoff said the first phase on Braemoor Woods Road experienced some mild pushback before it was built.
“They’ve worked out pretty well, I believe,” Moldoff said. “It’s well landscaped, it’s well maintained.”
Lewis said the new 38-unit building will be co-owned by himself, Gino Baroni and Timothy Kleiner. Because it is subsidized by federal tax credits, they will be required to put the construction up for bid.
The land is owned by the Salem Housing Authority, Lewis said, but he has an option agreement for purchase, which is contingent upon whether they secure the tax credit funding.
Lewis expects they will learn whether they’re awarded the tax credits by November. If so, they’ll likely begin construction next summer.
“The process is very complicated and involved,” said Lewis, but adding he’s familiar with the process, having built subsidized senior housing projects in Salem, Atkinson, Plaistow and putting the finishing touches on a new project in Londonderry.
The Londonderry project at 30 Sanborn Road will provide 51 units in two buildings. It will cost $12 million to build.
Lewis said he opened the project to bidding on Tuesday and hopes to finalize funding by the end of October. They may do some preliminary construction in the winter, but most of it will likely take place next spring, Lewis said.