Councillors in Favor of Elderly Housing at Fenno’s Corner

A new project to demolish the old, historic Reardon’s Pub building on Fenno’s Corner and replace it with a five-story elderly housing building was greeted with enthusiasm and relief by city councillors and several area seniors.

“This is a long time coming,” said well-known senior advocate Rose Napolitano. “If you come up and down Broadway you’ll never see any developments for seniors. There are some senior complexes in the outlying areas of the city, but they are far from doctors, drug stores  and coffee shops. This is an ideal location and a great spot for it and should have been done a long time ago.”

That being said, the current relief sought before the Council for the project is only a preliminary zoning change so that part of the property can move from a Residential B District to a General Business District. Monday’s discussion was only a public hearing on that matter, and so no vote was taken to change the zoning so as to allow the project to move forward to the permitting stage.

Nevertheless, that didn’t stop everyone from talking about what is to come.

The project is being proposed by The Neighborhood Developers (TND), a non-profit out of Chelsea that has been doing a lot of work in the Shirley Avenue area. TND Attorney Gerry D’Ambrosio said that the project would entail demolishing the historic (but vacant) pub and building a five-story building with 48 residential apartments deeded strictly for senior housing (55 years and older). Of those 48 units, some 70 percent would be give preference to Revere senior citizens.

Responding to rumors that the complex might eventually turn out to be subsidized family housing, D’Ambrosio refuted any such claims.

“This is not 250 Broadway,” he said, referring to the subsidized housing complex just a stone’s throw from Fenno’s Corner. “I’ve heard that from a number of people. It’s nothing like it. Not the same development or project…This is elderly housing with a preference for Revere elders. That’s the project and we’ll stand on that.”

He said that the financing has been gained from state grants in part that are specifically designated for senior housing, and that goal cannot be amended.

There is also slated to be three commercial business units on the ground floor.

Ward 1 Councillor Richard Penta said it was a no-brainer and a win all around for a corner that has been blighted and vacant for several years now.

Councillor Stephen Reardon – a former owner of Reardon’s – said it was with mixed emotions that he viewed the project, but he was glad it was finally being developed.

“It is bittersweet for me,” he said. “As a former minority owner of the property and one who worked in there for years, my family’s business, it is sad to see it go. I am glad to see it will be used for the elderly and I want to make sure it stays elderly housing.”

Mayor Dan Rizzo said he supports the plan.

“It’s hard to be against additional senior housing and if you’re familiar with TND and the work they’ve done in Chelsea at the Box District and the Walden House on Shirley Avenue and now here on Broadway – it’s high-quality work,” he said. “It really should not be a hard vote for the Council to make. We’re taking a building that for years has served its purpose, but has been vacant now for the last few years.”

The measure was sent to the Zoning Committee for further study.

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