HAVERHILL — Bethany Community Services plans to expand its Merrivista senior housing complex on Water Street with the addition of 62 affordable, age-restricted apartments, with 16 units designated for extremely low-income households.
The project recently received a $200,000 pre-development loan from the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation or CEDAC.
Bethany operates Merrivista senior housing at 100 Water St., Phoenix Row apartments at 22 Phoenix Row in Washington Square and Mission Towers at 180 Water St.
Jered Stewart, president and CEO of the nonprofit Bethany Community Services, said all three properties currently have long waiting lists of seniors looking for affordable apartments and that the expansion of Merrivista will help meet a significant need for senior housing.
"CEDAC is providing us with resources that we can't obtain from traditional lenders," Stewart said.
He said the proposed 62-unit project will be connected to the existing Merrivista building — a 150-unit affordable senior housing complex — through a sky bridge that will provide residents with access to a library, hair salon, dining room, and additional support services.
The project will also feature a 5,000 square foot health and wellness center operated by Bethany.
Stewart said the health and wellness center will be available to all Merrivista residents.
"This is a great thing for the city," Mayor James Fiorentini said, noting that almost daily, he hears from senior citizens who ask for his help in finding an affordable place to live. "This is just what we need and whatever the city can do to assist, we're all for it."
The Merrivista expansion is estimated to cost between $17 and $20 million. Construction could begin in 2022 or 2023, depending on financing approval, Stewart said.
CEDAC has also committed $200,000 to the North Shore Community Development Corporation (NSCDC), which plans to redevelop two former Catholic schools on either side of downtown Salem, Mass, into mixed-income rental housing, including units for affordable to low- and moderate-income residents.
"CEDAC is proud to support both of these projects, which will provide much-needed affordable housing opportunities to Haverhill and Salem,” said CEDAC’s executive director Roger Herzog. "We are glad to see a variety of housing options that will benefit local residents, including supportive housing for seniors."
Bethany held a gala fundraising event Oct. 10 at the Bradford Country Club that kicked off its capital campaign for the Merrivista expansion.
More than 160 people attended the event, which featured a silent auction, a meal and live music.
To donate to the Merrivista expansion, visit online at bethanycommunities.org/ways-to-give.
CEDAC is a public-private community development finance institution that provides financial resources and technical expertise for community-based and other non-profit organizations engaged in effective community development in Massachusetts.
CEDAC’s work supports two key building blocks of community development: affordable housing and early care and education. CEDAC is also active in state and national housing preservation policy research and development and is widely recognized as a leader in the non-profit community development industry. For additional information on CEDAC and its current projects, visit cedac.org.