WELLFLEET — The plan to build 46 affordable apartments at 95 Lawrence Road has cleared its last major hurdle. On Monday, the state Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) announced that the Residences at Lawrence Hill will receive close to $24 million in subsidies and tax credits — the funding the project needs to finally break ground.
According to Community Development Partnership CEO Jay Coburn, construction at Lawrence Hill could begin within nine months, and once shovels hit the ground, work on the project could take up to 20 months. That puts the likely completion date in the fall of 2026.
According to Vitalia Shklovsky, senior project manager for the nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), the project will receive $8 million in grants and another $15 to $16 million in state and federal low-income housing tax credits. POAH is working with the local nonprofit Community Development Partnership (CDP) to develop and manage the project.
Lawrence Hill is one of 26 affordable housing projects across the state chosen for support in this “mini-round” of funding, according to a Jan. 22 press release from the Healey-Driscoll administration. (Traditionally these housing funds are allocated once a year, but in each year since the American Rescue Plan Act, the state has added a second mini-round.)
Last summer, EOHLC passed over the project, while developments at 3 Jerome Smith Road in Provincetown and 107 Main St. in Orleans both received funding from the state agency. Wellfleet is the only community on Cape Cod to receive funding in this round.
“This announcement is exciting news for our project team and the whole community,” Shklovsky told the Independent. According to Coburn, CDP and POAH will meet with the select board in April to discuss next steps.
Coburn said that in this round of funding the state made almost twice the number of that it made last year. He said this shows that the Healey-Driscoll administration has “aggressively worked with the legislature to increase funding levels for affordable housing.”
According to the press release, the state has raised the low-income housing tax credit to $60 million annually — a $20-million increase from the previous year — as part of a $1-billion tax relief bill.
With funding from EOHLC secured, Lawrence Hill has what it needs for the $30-million project, Coburn said. The town of Wellfleet has committed $1.85 million in Affordable Housing Trust and Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, and Provincetown, Brewster, and Orleans are together chipping in another $145,000 in CPA money.
The developers are waiting to hear about an award of $1 million in Barnstable County ARPA funds and $300,000 from the Barnstable County Home Consortium. Further grants from the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) and Mass. Clean Energy Center, along with a $5-million mortgage, will cushion the risk of cost overruns, Coburn said.
The inflation that has caused Truro’s Cloverleaf affordable housing development, a project that received EOHLC funding in September 2022, to fall into a $7-million funding deficit is always in play, Coburn said.
But he argued that Boston-based POAH, which operates nearly 13,000 affordable homes across the country, has “the expertise and resources to manage those fluctuations and risks.”
Despite being passed over by the state during last summer’s annual rental funding round, Lawrence Hill has pretty well kept to its timeline. The town’s zoning board of appeals heard minimal opposition and signed off on a comprehensive permit for the project last year.
Plans to construct a $4.6-million wastewater treatment facility to serve Lawrence Hill as well as the nearby police and fire stations and other houses received a $3-million MassWorks grant last fall, drastically cutting the amount the town would otherwise have requested from taxpayers.
The development will include a three-story apartment building with 22 one- and two-bedroom units and a cluster of townhouses with 24 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Seventy-five percent of the units will be reserved for residents earning no more than 60 percent of area median income (AMI), and the rest will be restricted to those who earn between 60 and 80 percent of AMI.
“This award represents years of hard work and commitment by the Wellfleet community to address its housing challenges,” Town Administrator Rich Waldo told the Independent. “The town recognizes the long list of families desperate for stable housing. The Residences at Lawrence Hill is going to benefit them and our community. It is a big step in the right direction.”