Veterans Road Project Moves Forward

Thursday, April 5, 2012
By Cary Shuman

Artist's renderings of the Veterans Road project Top drawing is facing Veterans Road and bottom drawing is facing Shirley Street

It’s close to the final stop for approval of the proposed construction of 40 affordable housing units in one building on the site of the Temple Tifereth Israel property at 93 Veterans Road and the construction of a new, smaller Temple building next door in a separate building.

Affirmative Investments Vice President Tara Mizrahi, whose firm is co-developer of the project with the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, said the proposed project is currently under review by the Winthrop Conversation Commission due to the project’s proximity to a wetland across the street on the golf course [Winthrop Golf Club).

Last September the Planning Board and the Town Council unanimously approved the rezoning of the site to the Special Development Overlay District to allow this type of project.

The Zoning Board unanimously approved the variances to allow for the 40-foot building. The Planning Board unanimously approved the special permits needed at its March 26 meeting.

“The only thing we still have left is approval by the Conservation Commission,” said Mizrahi.

The Veterans Road project, which is being called Winthrop Apartments at this time, is for the construction 40 affordable housing units (36 one-bedroom units, four two bedroom-units) for seniors, age 62 and older, and a new Temple Tifereth Israel building. The existing Temple building will be demolished. The site will consist of two brand new buildings located adjacent to each other, but not connected. The construction of the buildings will cost $11 million.

“We had looked at renovating the property for awhile, but the costs to renovate were just so prohibitive and they were still going to end up with this really large, inefficient building,” said Mizrahi. “Part of the reason to resize the temple, make it new, bring it up to code, and have more efficiencies is to make the Temple’s operating costs manageable.”

Mizrahi said Temple Tifereth Israel will own the entire lot and grant a long-term lease for the apartment building to Affirmative Investments who will work with Chelsea Jewish Foundation in managing the property.

Affirmative Investments officials have had preliminary meetings with the Conservation Commission and don’t foresee anything that will derail the project. The project has already received a commitment of $500,000 from the North Suburban Home Consortium.

“If the Conservation Commission gives it approval and we receive funding from the State Department of Housing and Community in June, construction would start by the end of this year and it would be completed by the end of 2013,” said Mizrahi.

She said Winthrop residents should enjoy the new look that will beautify that section of Veterans Road.

“It will be gorgeous and a much-needed resource for the community,” said Mizrahi.

Mizrahi thanked Winthrop town officials, including Town Manager James McKenna and Councilor Linda Calla, for their support of the project from the very beginning.

“Linda Calla has been extremely supportive and helpful,” said Mizrahi.

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