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Historic site now home for Revere seniors

Posted on August 1, 2016

REVERE --- An historic downtown corner that was once a popular rest point for stagecoaches and featured a post office run by Horatio Alger's father has been transformed from an abandoned property into new homes for seniors thanks to the City of Revere, The Neighborhood Developers (TND), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP).

The new multifamily housing – called One Beach - features 30 one- and nine two-bedroom apartments affordable to households earning less than 60 percent of area median income. Each apartment must include at least one member who is 55 or older.

“Where we live determines our quality of life – home matters – and One Beach provides beautiful high quality affordable homes that contribute to the great revitalization work happening along Broadway,” said Ann Houston, TND's executive director. “At One Beach, we are offering seniors the opportunity to live affordably in the heart of their community, in homes that sustain social and healthy lifestyles. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Revere to support a thriving community.”
 
Located at the intersection of Broadway and Beach Street (known for many years as Fenno's Corner), One Beach is a short walk from the Revere Senior Center, City Hall, the Revere Public Library and Luberto’s Pastry Shop. The MBTA’s 116, 117, and 119 bus lines stop at One Beach, connecting residents to Beth Israel Deaconess in Chelsea, MGH Healthcare Centers in Revere, and the MBTA’s Blue Line.
 
The development is part of Revere’s ongoing Broadway revitalization effort, which has included a $1.8 million MassWorks grant from the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) to support downtown streetscape and parking improvements.

“One Beach will strengthen the downtown neighborhood,” said Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo at grand opening ceremonies on June 9. “It’s a cornerstone building and another step in our efforts to build a downtown economy.”

One Beach also addresses the need for senior housing in Revere, where 15 percent of the population is over 65 and 72 percent spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, according to a 2012 survey by the North Suburban Consortium, a regional organization that allocates federal HOME Program funds to eight communities in the Revere area. Since applications became available in Dec. 2015, over 680 families have applied to live at One Beach.

One Beach was financed primarily with federal low-income housing tax credits awarded by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). DHCD also provided federal HOME funds and $1 million from the state’s Affordable Housing Trust, which is administered by MassHousing. Bank of America provided construction financing and is the tax credit investor. Additional financing was provided by the state’s Facilities Consolidation Fund, which is administered by the Department of Mental Health and Department of Developmental Services.

“Affordable housing for seniors help individuals age in place and stay a part of a community they helped build,” said Chrystal Korengay, the state’s undersecretary for housing. 

MHP continued its long history of supporting TND in Chelsea and Revere, providing $1.1 million in long-term financing from its bank-funded loan pool, the only one of its kind in the nation. MHP has now provided TND with over $14 million in first- and second-mortgage loans for the financing of seven affordable housing developments totaling 260 apartments.

“MHP is an important thought partner in what it takes to build housing across the Commonwealth,” said TND’s Houston. “They are always thinking ahead about ways to create affordable housing and they are also a great business partner when you need a loan.”

“We applaud the City of Revere for being proactive about revitalizing its downtown and for recognizing that housing is an important part of that revitalization,” said Judy Jacobson, MHP’s deputy director. “And we can’t say enough about the city’s choice of a development partner.  What Ann Houston and her team at TND have done creating neighborhoods and helping residents prosper is truly remarkable.”

Designed by Utile Inc. of Boston, One Beach’s common areas and apartments allow in lots of light and provide sightlines to the downtown streets so seniors will feel like part of the community. The apartments also have open floor plans and other features that will allow residents to age in place.

One Beach’s location at the corner of Beach and Broadway will always have a special place in Revere’s history. According to an article by Seth Daniel for the Revere Journal, the building that was torn down had been vacant after Reardon’s Pub closed in 2007. For many years, the pub and restaurant served workers from the Forbes Lithongraph plant in Chelsea and other downtown Revere businesses.

The building’s foundation dated back to the 1830s, when the Fenno family started a general store, which featured a post office overseen by Postmaster Horatio Alger, the father of the author who became famous writing young-adult novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to middle-class security. Fenno’s Corner was for many years a resting point for travelers and their horses going up the Salem Turnpike.

Now, it's a place that Revere’s seniors can call home and where they can continue to be a part of the community.

For more information about One Beach and MHP’s financing options, contact Senior Loan Officer Amanda Roe at 857-317—8575 or aroe@mhp.net.