AHTF To Consider Purchasing Two Affordable Housing Units at Salem St. Project

The board of the Revere Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) held its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 13. Chair Joe Gravellese, vice-chair Claire Inzerillo, treasurer Anayo Osueke, Laila Pietri, Deb Frank, Lori Manzo, Matthew Wolfer, and Dean Harris were on hand for the session.

Osueke reported that the City Council recently transferred $366,597 from the city’s free cash account into the AHTF’s account, which increased the AHTF’s available funds to $1,142,942.26.

Gravellese began the meeting by reporting on the general results of a recent survey conducted by the AHTF. He said that the top reasons given by those who move out of Revere are housing affordability and the lack of available housing for those seeking either to downsize or who have disabilities.

The board heard an update regarding the 133 Salem St. development project, the former site of the 140-bed Revere Nursing Home, which is being converted into a condominium project consisting of 71 studio, one, and two-bedroom units with a commercial space in the basement.

The AHTF last fall authorized the contribution of a cash grant into MassHousing’s Commonwealth Builder Grant program, which in turn unlocked matching state funds that resulted in increasing the original number of affordable units from seven to a total of 18 affordable, deed-restricted units in the project. There will be 53 market-rate units in the project. The units will consist of a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom condos.

Roy Avellaneda and Michael Albano of Metropolitan Boston Real Estate, the listing broker for both the market rate and affordable units, presented an update about the status of the upcoming  lottery for the 18 affordable-housing units.

 “We want to applaud the AHTF for their efforts in creating affordable housing units,” said Avellaneda, who floated a proposal that the AHTF purchase two of the market-rate units and then resell them at affordable-unit prices, thereby increasing the total of affordable units in the project to 20. He also reported that 132 applicants have qualified for the lottery for the purchase of the 18 units, of which 70% are designated for “local preference,” which has a broad definition.

Harris spoke in favor of the idea of the AHTF purchasing and then reselling two of the units. “Additional affordable units are desperately-needed in this city,” Harris said, a sentiment with which his fellow board members concurred.

The board, upon a motion by Gravellese, voted to take the initial steps of looking into the details of purchasing and reselling the two units. Gravellese noted that the net cost to the AHTF of the purchase of two market-rate units and the resale of those units at the affordable rates would be about $400,000.

The board’s next meeting is set for tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 6:30 in the City Council Chamber.

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