Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Beacon Of Hope

Mill District:  Beacon project sited between Atkins and Cowles Building Supply

Beacon Communities, a top tier public housing developer, will go before our illustrious Select Board on Monday night to present preliminary plans for their badly needed mixed-use development that would continue the revitalization of North Amherst.

The Mill District has already made the historic but often neglected area a destination spot with the opening of Atkins North and the Trolley Barn.

This proposed development would add a key ingredient to the mix:  tenants who live within walking distance of all the amenities the area has to offer.

And with 20% of the units set aside as "affordable housing" the project would help bridge a Grand Canyon sized gap in our residential demographics.

Beacon purchased Rolling Green for $30.25 million ($1.25 million of town CPA $) thus keeping it on our Subsidized Housing Inventory


Anonymous said...

Worth noting: those affordable units cannot be rented by college students. So you can rejoice about this development if you are one of those people with an irrational vendetta against the students who power most of the economy here in Amherst.

Dr. Ed said...

BECAUSE the affordable units can't be rented by college students, building them further exacerbates the two-tier rental market and further forces the middle class out of Amherst.

Larry Kelley said...

In a capitalist society any increase in supply is a good thing.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, do not confuse "free market" with "capitalist society." You'd be right if these were free market units, but they are not.

Anonymous said...

Ed, why do you care? You don't live here and you hate Amherst.

Anonymous said...

Here are the actual stats from the President of BeaconProperties:

130 total units with rents beginning at $1900/month plus utilities for a one bedroom unit.
20% of the = 26 units are affordable: 16 at 50% Area Median Income and 8 at 20% median

This would be the largest development in AMherst after the failed Landmark project!! and would overwhelm our 19th century agricultural/industrial village. With so many expensive units being built I wonder who can afford to live in them. I read in the Boston Globe that western Mass population is declining because other than academic jobs, the only others are basically minimum wage mall jobs.

Lastly, the Dept. of Housing and Community Development only allows up to 70% local preference and for Olympia Oaks, this preference was only for the first lottery. So the reality, folks, is that we will be paying with our taxes to subsidize rents for people who have no connection to AMherst while our housing needs continue to multiply.

Lastly, no one, no consultant, no assessor, no economic development director has told us what the impact of all the new units might be on the existing apartment complexes. As their population, hence rents, decline, how much will they need in tax abatements? etc. etc.

There are a lot of questions whether new residential growth is good in the long run if there are no high-paying professional jobs to go with them. In principle, this is a good company with an excellent tract record, but the project is much too large for this parcel.

Larry Kelley said...

Let me guess: you live in North Amherst and this project is in your backyard (or front yard)?

Anonymous said...

No larry...anon 6:45 is worried about the developer not finding email ought tenants!

Anonymous said...

So the developer wants more than twice the amount of units allowed under the current zoning and increase the value of the land. Because the developer wants to make more money. Let me say this again, the developer wants to buy land with established zoning that allows only 60 units and wants to double that density so the DEVELOPER CAN MAKE MORE MONEY and INCREASE THE VALUE OF THAT LAND.

130 units is a lot of density on 6 acres for a village center. It's not a city center. If I was living in a house next to this, I wouldn't want a 130 unit next door and it's a pretty reasonable response. It could reduce the value of your home and be more noise, lights and activity than a smaller development. Someone else might think it was fine, but many people would want the established zoning to be enforced. Is this so hard to understand?

Someone that does not live in North Amherst

Anonymous said...

As a North Amherst resident I support this project. It is exactly the type of housing that the two consulting studies told us we need - namely, for young professionals and service sector employees. The high rent units subsidize the affordable ones - the Town is not providing any funding here. And the market rent "is what it is" - similar units at Amherst Office Park were claimed months before the building opened. That's because we have ton of junky old rental units but very few places that young professionals or educators want to live. Yes, it's close to Boston rents but people will pay that for a quality apartment with amenities.

And unlike Cushman village, N. Amherst center has amenities and is well positioned to absorb more residents. With the new development in the so called "Mill District" it's now a really walkable neighborhood, with post office, grocery store, library, tavern, etc. To say nothing of the survival center.

It seems like a great project, and I hope that Town Meeting sees that. If only we could participate in their pre-meeting deliberations . . . sigh

Anonymous said...

About my post 10:51...I am so tired of autocorrect....