City’s Housing Committee Considers Two Properties On The Hill; On Moody Street and Waterville Street


Property at 54 Waterville Street Discussed at the Housing Committee meeting.

Taking a Chunk Out of the Roof of Adams School Yesterday

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 824)

At its monthly meeting yesterday, the Housing Committee took up two properties located on the Hill for updates by city staff members.

The first matter was the long-going demolition and construction of the former Marada Adams School on Moody Street.  Committee members discussed the possibility of holding a neighborhood informational meeting to discuss the future of the “remnant parcel” of the property – that is the portion of the property that will not be used in the development of this moderately price condominum project.  Councilor Kevin Donoghue who represents the Hill said he thought it better to incorporate that issue into the District I meeting in the fall.  Residents of the Hill are pretty weary of this on-going process and would be better to wait until it is well under way before engaging  the community  once again. 

In a memorandum to the Housing Committee, dated June 24, 2011, Penny St. Louis-Littell, Director of Planning and Urban Development for the city, said that Avesta Housing had asked the Housing Committee for the “right of first refusal or a longer term option to purchase this remanant property.”  The Housing Committee denied that request.    The memo also said that a few people have been inquiring into the City’s intention regarding this property. 

Ms.  St. Louis-Littell reported that she had received a request from the developers, Avesta Housing, requesting the city to waive its LEED Certification  requirement.  More information is needed, but Chair Jill Duson and Donoghue both said they were inclined to deny that request – which was part of the original proposal submitted by Avesta Housing on July 22, 2008. The original proposal was for a 40 – unit residential development, called Beckett Green.  The name has been scrapped.  And due to the economy, the size of the project downsized to 17 units.

 In an email to, Ethan Boxer-Macomber,  Avesta Housing, said:  “At Adams, we have designed high performance buildings that we expect would achieve a LEED Silver certification level at a minimum.  However, the cost to register and certify the project with the US Green Building Council has been estimated at $46,950.  We do not believe that this added administrative cost brings additional value to the project given its relatively small size and scale.  Registering the project with USGBC would add nearly $3,000 to the cost of each unit, threatening the viability of the project and the affordability of the units.  We have therefore requested a waiver from the LEED Certification process on this particular project.”

In the same email, Boxer-Macomber acknowledged that the contractors lost several weeks dealing with some additional asbestos material found inside the building – in the walls – not picked up in the original survey.  The DEP had to come back in for additional inspections and clearances, which is time consuming.  Boxer-Macomber said he expects the demolition crews to be 100% finished and the ground loamed and seeded by the last week of July.

The former Adams School project is expected to go to the Planning Board for site plan approval on August 9th with construction starting in the fall.

Macomber-Boxer has been promoted to a new position at Avesta Housing and Seth Parker will be managing this project from now on.

The property at 54 Waterville Street was taken by the city for unpaid taxes a few years ago.  The matter came before the Housing Committee to determine what path it would like to take in making the house habitable once again.  (Unfortunately, lost her notes and will have to stop here!)

For more background on the Avesta Housing – Adams School matter, please see post # 672, dated 4/25 herein.