PROVINCETOWN — Housing Specialist Michelle Jarusiewicz, Town Manager Alex Morse, and Town Planner Thaddeus Soule unsealed the bids from three development companies proposing to build affordable housing at the VFW parcel on Jerome Smith Road in Provincetown on Thursday, July 29. The bids were the latest step in a long process that has included a 2013 vote to acquire the property, several community engagement sessions in 2019, and finally a request for proposals this past May.
“I’ll be appointing a review committee that will consider all three proposals,” said Morse, “and choose the preferred bidder in the coming weeks.”
“We’ve been working on this a very long time,” said Jarusiewicz. “This is an exciting day!”
Pennrose Sees 64 Units
The bid from Pennrose LLC is to build 64 units, which would occupy the 1.3-acre VFW parcel as well as the adjacent half-acre 55R Captain Bertie’s Way parcel, which is currently for sale.
The 64 apartments would be divided into eight buildings, seven of which would feature private entrances for each unit. A larger three-story building facing Jerome Smith Road would have studio apartments. Also on Jerome Smith Road would be a one-story combined management suite and “community room.”
According to the development concept, “the townhome structures are organized around a series of ‘outdoor rooms’ along walking and biking paths, meant to reflect the context of Provincetown’s famous alleyways and side streets. … The variety of outdoor spaces, planted with native species, will encourage gathering and create a neighborhood atmosphere, without feeling crowded.”
Parking would be along the perimeter in this plan, with green spaces between the buildings.
Pennrose, based in Philadelphia, has never built in Provincetown before, but is the builder and manager of the recently completed Village at Nauset Green in Eastham.
The Community Builders
The bid from The Community Builders Inc. is for 57 units, again on both the VFW site and the adjacent parcel on Captain Bertie’s Way. The company says it is already negotiating an option to buy that parcel for $1.3 million. The nonprofit has built and managed mixed-income complexes in Chatham, Sandwich, and Mashpee, and is the builder and owner of the 50 apartments at Province Landing on 90 Shank Painter Road in Provincetown.
TCB’s bid proposes four larger buildings, with parking through the midline of the property and the buildings along the edges.
The development concept says “the proposed design calls for a mixture of shingle cladding and alternating warm but neutral colors of clapboard siding to add texture and depth to the site. … The laundry room opens out onto a terrace where residents can sit while waiting for laundry, as well as an area for children to play.”
The bid suggests increasing pedestrian and bicycle access between this site and its apartments at 90 Shank Painter, so that residents can share amenities such as the workout room.
Commonwealth Community Developers
The bid from Commonwealth Community Developers is for 46 units and is the only one that does not include the purchase of 55R Captain Bertie’s Way.
The design proposal is for one larger and two smaller buildings, with parking along the north edge of the site. The larger building is oriented with its smaller side facing Jerome Smith Road.
According to the development concept, “this orientation provides a relatively residential scale façade for this larger building and stays within the Provincetown vernacular architecture that we are seeking. … Ample and varied landscaping will screen the site and add visual beauty. There will be a tot lot, a small community garden and a lawn area for quiet recreation.”
The Cambridge-based developer has not built in Provincetown before, but is nearly finished with a project in Yarmouth that is redeveloping a dilapidated motel into 40 units of affordable housing. “The scale of that project, the creativity involved in the design and financing, and the resident population to be served, are very similar to what we anticipate for Jerome Smith Corner,” says the bid document.