Veterans housing can be incorporated into Fall River development plans
FALL RIVER – Developers proposing a 346-unit development on two acres of land near the waterfront on Weaver Street are working with state and local veterans agencies towards the veterans housing project.
The Veterans Housing Opportunity is a new concept for the 100 Weaver Street development proposal. In less than six months, the city’s zoning appeal board granted the developers four extensions.
“We are trying to find a viable use that will meet the needs of all stakeholders and all voters, to meet what the people of the city want and what the city wants, and frankly, what the capital of the city wants. project,” said Brian McCaffrey, one of the directors of real estate development company, Abbott and Farnham LLC of Rye, New Hampshire in an interview this week.
The developers are seeking a number of waivers and a special permit from the ZBA. Specifically, permission to demolish the existing building at 100 Weaver St.
In addition to the demolition request, the company is also requesting a waiver to waive side, rear and front yard setbacks, the permitted building height of six stories to 14 stories, as well as a waiver for the required number of spaces. parking place.
The property is in a commercial mill district area.
According to a schematic diagram provided in the zoning board application, the project would have 346 parking spaces, one per dwelling. Typically, city zoning regulations require 1 1/2 spaces per unit.
At last month’s zoning board meeting, Killoran told the board that the developers were working with an unnamed state agency, explaining that they did not yet have permission to reveal the agency’s identity. of state.
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Neighbors and other city stakeholders haven’t had a chance to formally comment on the project with the zoning board due to the four extensions since the issue was put on the board’s agenda. in June.
However, members of the Preservation Society, in letters and public comments, made it known that they were not in favor of the project and indicated that it would set a bad precedent for the future development of the waterfront of the city.
Preservation Society member Alex Silva questioned the latest delay with the unnamed state agency.
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“I don’t understand, if this anonymous state partner is so integral to the project, why were they not contacted until months after the special permit applications were filed,” Silva said. “It just seems like it’s reacting to the backlash from the public that they’ve seen so far.”
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“We are actively working with a state agency that may become involved if this project is allowed to go ahead, that would certainly impact the dynamics of the project and certainly some aspects of it, such as the parking requirements and potential impacts on traffic,” Attorney Killoran said. the zoning board said last month.
An open records request to the city’s Department of Veterans Services revealed that McCaffrey was in communication with its manager, Micaila Britto, about possible veterans’ housing to be incorporated into the proposed development.
“We intend to provide 346 veterans housing units,” McCaffrey wrote in an email to Britto. “Needless to say, our group is excited about the potential of the project and the opportunity to work with DVS and the City of Fall. We welcome your questions and feedback and will be available as needed to answer any concerns or questions you may have. have so that we can provide good accommodation that meets the needs of your customers.
McCaffrey acknowledged that the company was reaching out to veterans agencies and said there were still “a lot of moving parts” in the project at this point, which is why the developers asked for more time before present their case to the ZBA.
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“It will be what people need at the agency level that will guide this,” McCaffrey said. “So right now we’re a middle-of-the-road developer and we have people who have committed capital to do this and people who want to. So everyone is just working on clearing up what might happen.
McCaffrey acknowledged that if developers create housing for veterans, there will be an affordable housing component to the project.
According to a project proposal document acquired through the Open Records Demand, the project has a development budget of nearly $50 million for the 346 market-priced and affordable housing units.
A project development proposal report highlights the housing estate’s proximity to the south coast railway station, which is due to open around this time next year.
“The two-acre property is well-situated to capture the anticipated increase in apartment rental demand as it is just one mile from the new MBTA commuter rail station,” according to the development proposal document.
The two-acre Weaver Street property is owned by Domingos Medeiros, owner of Hard Pine Truss Co., which is currently located on the property.
According to a copy of the purchase and sale agreement between Abbott and Farnham and Medeiros, the sale price for the two-acre property is $2.8 million.
The developers made a down payment of $100,000 to purchase the land in May, the agreement says.
Developers paid more than $18,000 to file their appeal with the zoning board after city building inspector Glenn Hathaway denied a building permit for the city citing zoning regulations.
Each time the project is extended by the zoning board, developers are charged a $350 fee.
Company documents identify in addition to McCaffrey, that Edward Perez of New Hampshire and William Hammond of Michigan are directors of Abbott and Farnham.
A list of entities involved in the proposed project provided to the city’s veterans office indicates that the local developer, Kenneth Mollicone of Somerset, is consulting for Abbott and Farnham on the project.
Mollicone and a business partner recently bid on a contract to sell the former Atlantic Charter School building on South Main Street to the city to house the school department’s expanding pre-K program for $6.4 million.
In June, in a city-brokered deal, Mollicone purchased the former Silvia and Lincoln schools from David Hebert, city businessman and convicted co-defendant and incarcerated former mayor Jasiel Correia II.
Mollicone was charged in 2013 by Rhode Island law enforcement with participating in a mortgage scheme and later pleaded no contest to a count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500.
Jo C. Goode can be reached at [email protected] Support local journalism and subscribe to The Herald News today!