Last night, after a two hour public hearing, the city’s planning board gave unanimous approval to Avesta Housing for its subdivision and site plan for the development of a 16 unit condominium on a .74 acre portion of the site of the former Marada Adams School. In addition, there will be the construction of a .35 acre public park/playground area next to the condominiums, to be named Adams Park. Adams was a very long time teacher and principal on the Hill.
Ethan Macomber, the original development manager, gave a brief history although as he said “it has an incredibly long history.” Back in the 2006, the Adams School closed and a RFP was issued by the city. Avesta won the RFP. It’s proposal called for a 40 unit condo development on the site. But by 2008 when the housing market crashed, Avesta was stuck with no financing and a good plan. However, stimulus money was forthcoming and the proposal was downsized to 16 units on a smaller portion of the property, now referred to as Parcel B. (The future of Parcel A will be determined at a later time. It may be on the agenda for the District l meeting this November.) There are sixteen parking spaces with an additional one designated as handicapped – for a total of 17 parking spaces.
Seth Parker, the new project manager for Avesta reported that the cost of these 2 – 3 bedroom units will be 120% of the median income – which is $80,000. here. It’s anticipated that the units will sell for $225,000. to $275,000. The outside material of the condominiums have not yet been determined, but it is expected to be neutral with colorful accents, such as bay windows. Building bids are expected to go out in September and hopefully construction will start later this fall.
One of the highly unanticipated expenses was the discovery of far more asbestos than was anticipated – adding greatly to the cost of the abatement and slowing down the removal of the toxics. The asbestos was found deep in the ground as well as behind the brick layer. The property, before the Adams School was built, was once a gas station, a grenade factory, a machine shop for trolleys and a place where white lead was refined.
Originally named Beckett Green, the neighborhood was involved in an Adams School Reuse Committee that issued its final report to Avesta Housing. Chairman of that Committee was Eastern Promenade resident, Dan Haley, who attended last night’s meeting. Following the meeting, he said: “It’s a good project. I would like to see something specific about the outside material. I hope it reflects the neighborhood as specified by the Adams School Reuse Committee.