By Seth Daniel
A long-time Jewish temple on Nahant Avenue will now serve as veterans housing, after the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) unanimously approved a 30-unit mixed-use project last week brought by the Nakashian brothers.
The project, which has had a very positive neighborhood meeting, was approved last Wednesday, Sept. 28, by a vote of 5-0. Rob and John Nakashian of ARM Construction brought the project to the ZBA.
â€œThe fact itâ€™s a combination of veterans preference housing and one-bedroom units â€“ that made it a very appealing project,â€ said Attorney Gerry Dâ€™Ambrosio, who represented the owners at the ZBA.Â â€œIt was something where there is a need for such units. Veterans are an underserviced community and there is not a great deal of veterans housing going up across the state.â€
The project, which has a veterans preference and is open to the entire state, would contain 30, one-bedroom units with retail on the ground level. In the basement, there would be a build out for veteransâ€™ services, where federal case workers could set up when they are on site to help veterans in the development with services.
The five-story building would have eight units on the second, third and fourth floors, with six units on the fifth floor. A retail operation would exist in the ground floor.
â€œThe idea was to engage the sidewalk,â€ said Dâ€™Ambrosio. â€œThe walls are collapsible walls so in the summer people can walk in and out.â€
Dâ€™Ambrosio said the Temple Bâ€™Nai Israel had fallen into disrepair in recent years and was not as active as it once had been. There was a time in the past when it was one of the largest temples in the area, routinely having to shut down Nahant Street so that services could be held â€“ especially on Jewish holidays. However, those days are long gone and the temple had been sparsely attended for years. It stopped having regular services a few years back when Rabbi Abraham Teitel passed away in 2011.
â€œI think the fact it is serving veterans helps to continue its legacy of serving the community,â€ said Dâ€™Ambrosio. â€œThere will be a memorial as part of the project commemorating the old temple.â€
The developers plan to break ground in the spring, with a demolition of the old temple some time in early 2017.