Valley Community Development has 200 affordable homes in its pipeline. These include a wide variety of housing types, from single-person studio rentals to first-time homeownership condos. Development sizes range from 20 to 60 units. Locations in Northampton, Amherst, and Hadley are in planning.
Valley is conducting an affordable housing pre-development study in Easthampton, with the goal of identifying a suitable affordable housing location in the coming 18 months.
Prospect Place — 737 Bridge Road, Northampton, MA (60 family apartments)
Valley was recently awarded $2.5M in grants from the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Moderate & Low Income Decarbonization Program and the MassHousing Climate Ready Homes Program for the proposed geothermal alternative energy system at Prospect Place. Because of these funding grants, we will convert from existing fossil fuel systems to all-electric systems primarily powered by alternative energy sources. New geothermal will fuel heating, cooling, and hot water, while PV Solar proposed on the roof will support other electricity needs. Alternative energy such as geothermal is the key to keeping rents affordable amidst rising electricity costs and has untapped potential.
Previous to the grant awards, Valley had put a funding application into the Executive Office of Housing & Livable Communities (EOHLC) office for the remaining funds needed for the remaining work at the 737 Bridge Rd site to convert the former nursing home into 60 all affordable apartments. We except to hear back from the State (EOHLC) sometime in December on their decision. If awarded, Valley will be proceeding with construction around August 2024 and will expect 13-15 months for construction.
Valley received Major Site Plan approval from the Northampton Planning Board in October 2022. In the same month, the Massachusetts Underutilized Properties Program awarded funds to pay for asbestos removal at the property. This abatement work began in January 2023.
Design work continues to evolve and is focused on integrating neighbor comments, producing highly livable apartments for families, and creating a near-zero net energy property that eliminates the use of fossil fuels.
With help from Saloomey Construction and WellSpring Geothermal, Valley recently drilled a test well to assess the site for future geothermal energy. Geothermal is an excellent passive renewable energy source that involves using the natural ground temperature for heating & cooling. If the test well provides positive results, future wells would go down 400 feet into the ground. Geothermal could help us operate affordable housing for years to come!
23 Laurel Street, Northampton, MA (20 family apartments)
In December 2022 Valley received a $650,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston Affordable Housing Program. In May 2023, Valley received the major financing for this development from the State’s Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities. General Contractor (GC) bids were received and revealed higher construction costs than originally budgeted. Valley asked for support from the Northampton CPC to cover this gap with a decision due in December 2023.
Assuming all funds are raised, Allegrone Construction will begin building in April 2024 and finish in June 2025. Tenants would move in during fall 2025.
Valley will post applications for the lottery for these apartments on its website as soon as they are available (projected fall 2024).
Above: Site Plan rendering by Berkshire Design Group
Above: Typical building renderings by Austin Design, Inc.
EconoLodge, Hadley, MA (50 studio and one-bedroom apartments)
Valley acquired 329 Russell Street, Hadley in January 2023 with funding from CEDAC and received a $650,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston Affordable Housing Program.
In February 2023, Valley applied to the Hadley Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for a permit under Chapter 40B. Multiple Hadley Boards and residents supported Valley’s proposed redevelopment but the ZBA denied the permit. Valley appealed the ZBAs denial to the MA Housing Appeals Committee and received a Summary Decision in Valley’s favor in November 2023.
The first floor is currently leased to Craig’s Doors which provides shelter for 38 homeless individuals. The next step is to apply for funding for the rehab work needed to convert the hotel to apartments.
27 Crafts Avenue, Northampton, MA (Estimated 30 studio apartments)
In November 2022, Valley responded to a Request for Proposals issued by the City of Northampton to develop a City-owned property at 27 Crafts Avenue for affordable housing. Valley was selected to be the project developer and will work with Jones Whitsett Architects and the City to develop a new construction program and design for the site.
Current plans call for 30 new studio apartments with 20 of the apartments for those individuals making 30% or less of the area median income with a preference for individuals who are currently unhoused. The remaining 10 apartments will be set aside for individuals who currently earn 60% or less of the area median income. We intend to have on-site property management, resident services & maintenance staff on-site on the ground floor level.
On August 24th, 2023, The City of Northampton Planning Board approved the Major Site Plan Approval zoning permit for the project. Project site plans, exterior elevations, and additional supporting documents are available to the public on the City of Northampton website.
Amherst Community Homes — North Amherst, MA
Valley Community Development plans to build an affordable homeownership development which will create an estimated 30 homes on an 9.047-acre property in North Amherst. The development will be 15 duplex condominiums clustered around shared open spaces, and shared parking arrangements will minimize vehicular traffic and emphasize pedestrian connections. All the homes will be deed restricted to Low-to-Moderate Income first-time homebuyer households, with a preference for first-time homebuyers that meet the CommonWealth Builders (CWB) program purchaser requirements, which is the anticipated state subsidy source for the development.
Valley acquired the site in August 2022. The first schematic site and building plans were presented at the District One Neighborhood Association BBQ in September 2022 with our design team, Peter Flinker from Dodson & Flinker Associates, and Tom Chalmers from Austin Design Cooperative, Inc. A second neighborhood community meeting was held on the property in April 2023 to review the site redevelopment and building plans to date. Valley filed a Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit request with the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals in September 2023, with the first of several public hearings scheduled for October 2023.