Details of the proposal by an affordable housing developer to buy the Bradstreet School are clearer today.
Representatives from Lowell-based developer Coalition For a Better Acre -- which offered $300,000 for the building last month -- attended Monday night's Board of Selectmen meeting and gave a presentation about that organization's plans for the property.
The town would actually be in for more than $400,000, however, since the proposal requests more than $700,000 to come from the town's CPA funds and Affordable Housing Trust as part of the $8 million it wouldneed for the project.
The figure the organization is requesting is based on other projects the town has contributed to, such as the affordable housing development at Stevens Corner.
"What we're asking for from you I think is fair based on what you've spent elsewhere," Coalition For a Better Acre Real Estate Director Madeline Nash said. "It's not like there's a lot of state funding to go after."
Selectmen Chair Bill Gordon said the draw would be the tax revenue the project would generate. And the town would have to spend $9 million to keep and renovate the building itself.
The company's proposal -- which can be viewed on the town Web site or in the PDF attached to this article -- calls for tearing down the school and building a three-story mixed-use building, with businesses on the ground floor and apartments on the other two floors.
"We do a lot of building renovations, so we never take the idea of demolishing a building lightly," architect John Winslow said. "For a proposal for mixed use, we felt after evaluating the school building, renovating it was not feasaible. We might get 10 units, which would not be feasible."
So here is what the current proposal calls for:
- 24 units of residential housing.
- A mix of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments.
- 5,000 square feet of retail space.
- 58 parking spaces.
- Handicap access, including elevators.
- Residential entry from side of building as opposed to Main Street.
- A small building in front, with a larger building in back.
"We're proposing 24 units of housing, and that's a fairly big building, and we felt having a bldg that size right on main street would be too looming," Winslow said.
The apartments would be targeted at moderate income tenants, with both minimum and maximum income requirements. Madeline Nash said the rents -- between $900 and $1,400 -- are aimed at attracting entry-level professionals and others who have income but might not otherwise be able to afford a rental in town.
Gordon stressed that there would be no vote yet on the proposal.
"We're hearing the proposal now and will have public input," Gordon said. "We're certainly not making any decisions tonight. This is informational tonight, and everyne will get an opp to participate."
A local landmark, the Bradstreet School has been closed for several years and has cost the town tens of thousands of dollars each year just to keep it standing, completely vacant. Renovating the building would cost the town millions of dollars.
At Town Meeting last year, residents voted to approve the sale of the school.