LAWRENCE — At just 102 apartments, Arlington Point isn’t going to solve the affordable housing crisis in Lawrence, or anywhere else, for that matter.
But it might be considered the tip of the spear in the battle to find affordable places for young professionals, senior citizens and new families to live in.
“This is a millennial peak,” said Janelle Chan, undersecretary for the state Department of Housing and Community Development, referring to a population spike of young, recent college graduates who are filling payrolls across the region but who are unable to afford the high cost of housing. “We want millennials to stay in this community, we want to allow them to thrive here.”
She said the type of housing being offered by the Arlington Point apartments, located at 590 Broadway in a renovated mill building, will help achieve that goal.
“Twenty-five percent of people in the state are extremely rent-burdened,” said Chan, during remarks she made under a clear tent to about 100 people gathered in the landscaped parking lot for 590 Broadway. She took the opportunity to push for the governor’s Housing Choice Now bill, which would make it easier for local communities to approve low-cost housing permits by reducing the number of votes needed at planning or zoning boards from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority.
Dan Drazen, vice president of development at Trinity, served as emcee for the event, during which a number of local, state and financial officials lauded the project as a public-private partnership that benefits working people.
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said the project would be providing housing for “working poor families.”
Of the 102 units, 19 are for people at 30% of the area median income, which ranges from $21,450 for a single person up to $35,550 for a six-person family.
Drazen explained that the rents were kept low thanks to a mix of state and federal financing that enabled Trinity to keep its mortgage costs down. Those savings are passed onto renters, he said.
Renters making 30% of the area median income — or about $27,650 for a three-person family, for example — will be able to rent a three-bedroom apartment in the building for $796 a month.
Renters making 60% of the area median income, or $55,140 for a 3-person family, would be able to rent a three-bedroom for $1,593. A family of three with an income equivalent to 80% of the AMI, or $73,520, would be eligible for a three-bedroom apartment at $1,858.
The rents and incomes eligibility guidelines vary depending on the number of people in a household and the number of bedrooms in the apartment.
The apartments themselves are similar to many of the loft-style apartments in the city, with high ceilings, huge windows, polished floors, wide hallways and extra amenities in public areas.
Two of the units are actually three-bedroom townhouses overlooking a lagoon created by a nearby dam on the Spicket River. The backside of the main building also overlooks the river, while the front of the building looks out at decrepit, old structure that Drazen vowed would soon become another affordable apartment complex.
He said Trinity had recently signed an agreement to purchase the 250,000-square-foot building which is planned as an 84-unit mixed-income building.