EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 23, 2013

Greater Lawrence Tech students, staff celebrate construction of Andover house

ANDOVER — Raymond Moran, an 18-year-old senior at Greater Lawrence Technical School, may have put it best yesterday when he spoke to a small gathering of classmates, faculty and members of a local non-profit when he said: “We built someone’s home. They’re going to have kids and pets. ... We are going to make a family happy.”

As everyone applauded and took a piece of chocolate cake, students from the school’s home-building program toured the finished home, perhaps for the last time, as that new family is expected to be chosen tonight and will move in as soon as the landscaping is done.

In a cooperative effort between the school, the Andover Community Trust, a local bank and the town, the 1,862-square-foot single-family home at 98 Andover St. has become a reality.

“Our goal is to build affordable homes throughout town,” said Susan Stott, executive director of the all-volunteer organization ACT, as it’s known. In a neighborhood of homes that sell for $400,000 to $500,000, she said, the 3-bedroom, 1-1/2-bath house, with a garage, partially finished basement and nice back deck on a 30,000-square-foot lot, will sell for just $175,000.

Not just anyone can buy it, however. Stott explained that the application process was started in February during an open house attended by 50 people representing 35 households. Out of that group, five sent in completed applications. The board of ACT has reviewed the applications, interviewed the applicants, and will decide tonight on which lucky applicants gets to buy the house.

She said ACT holds 99-year leases on the projects it undertakes, while homeowners must secure a mortgage and pay property taxes on the house. Anyone who tries to sell it in the future would have to sell it as an affordable property and renew the 99-year lease with ACT.

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