Last night the Housing Committee took another step forward toward converting the former Adams School into moderately priced condominiums called Beckett Green – a reality. Following a discussion that went well into overtime, the Housing Committee voted to recommend that the staff develop a purchase and sale agreement with an executive session requirement attached to it. Avesta Housing is the non-profit developer and the only one to respond to the RFP issued by the city.
By way of background, in June of 2008, Avesta Housing proposed a redevelopment plan for the former school that included 40 housing units; half were one bedroom units and the other 20 were larger units. According to Dana Totman, director, Avesta Housing, since that time the “economy worsened. A number of funding sources dried up.” While that situation has recently been resolved, the plan presented to the Housing Committee last night included only 16 units of only two and three bedroom units; no one bedroom units were included in this plan. According to neighbors, this new plan is drastically different from the original plan submitted in 2008.
The original asking price for the entire plot which is over an acre was $600,000. Avesta is willing to pay $240,000 for Phase 1 which will include the condos, a playground and open public space. This constitutes .73 of an acre.
Councilor David Marshall was reluctant to make a committment to the project. “We should be getting more units for the money.”
Marshall requested the executive session requirement become part of the recommendation. Councilor Jill Duson was the acting chair on the matter because John Anton recused himself for this discussion.
“We are sitting on the end of a needle,” said Totman at the end of the meeting.