Congressman William R. Keating (D-MA 9th) joined local and state officials and affordable housing supporters this morning to celebrate the groundbreaking of Brewster Woods, an affordable housing development that will bring 30-much needed affordable apartments to the town of Brewster.
“The lack of affordable housing on Cape Cod is one of the greatest threats facing our local economy, and the construction of Brewster Woods is a big step in the right direction,” said Congressman Keating. “In constructing these new affordable units, Housing Assistance Corporation, Preservation of Affordable Housing, and their government and private sector partners are creating a roadmap that will lead to dozens of families being able to stay on Cape Cod by this time next year, and that is something worth celebrating.”
The housing, which is being developed by Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and Housing Assistance Corporation, is expected to be completed next summer, adding 8 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units, and 3 three-bedroom units to Brewster’s Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI).
At the event, Congressman Keating was joined by state and local officials in stressing the critical need for more affordable and attainable housing for year-round Cape Codders who are increasingly being squeezed out of the market due to low rental inventory and a record expensive real estate market.
“The Baker-Polito administration continues to make addressing the statewide housing crisis a priority and we are pleased to collaborate with partners like POAH, Housing Assistance, and the Brewster Housing Authority to increase the availability and affordability of housing through projects like Brewster Woods,” said guest speaker Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. “We remain committed to using all the tools of state government, including direct funding, tax credits, and grant programs like MassWorks, to produce the housing that the Commonwealth’s economy, communities, and residents need.”
Kennealy was in Brewster in November 2019 to announce a $1.68 million state MassWorks grant to the town which paid for infrastructure work that included site clearance, utility connections, an alternative septic system, landscaping, road work, and new sidewalk connections that helped make the project possible.
Additional funding sources include a $2.4 million loan from Massachusetts Housing Partnership, $7.3 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity from Bank of America, a $7 million construction loan from Bank of America, $1 million in Affordable Housing Trust Funds from MassHousing, $1 million in financing from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), $250,000 in Barnstable County HOME funds, $550,000 in Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) funds, $550,000 in Brewster Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, and $450,000 from Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC). The Town of Brewster, through the Brewster Select Board, waived its standard building permit fees for the project.
“Bank of America Community Development Banking is pleased to provide more than $14 million to help create much-needed affordable housing for families in Brewster,” said Mary Thompson, Senior Vice President of Community Development Banking at Bank of America in a statement issued earlier. “Brewster Woods is a great example of the impact of public-private partnerships can make to support the communities where we work and live.”
POAH President and CEO Aaron Gornstein echoed those sentiments, saying “POAH is grateful to the Town of Brewster, the Baker-Polito Administration, state elected officials, and all of our financial partners for making it possible to expand much-needed housing opportunities for families in Brewster and the surrounding region. This has been a model for how public-private partnerships should work to advance affordable housing. We also greatly appreciate the leadership of Congressman Keating for ensuring that federal resources are available for these types of developments.”
Several speakers highlighted the importance of housing developments like this to the region. “Cape Cod’s future as a year-round community is in serious jeopardy due to a housing crisis and multifamily affordable housing units are the only way out,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “Brewster Woods is a welcome addition to the Lower Cape that will make it more affordable for those cobbling together a life on our peninsula. I’m grateful to those who have been involved in the project and proud to see it reach such a terrific milestone.”
“I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration, including Secretary Kennealy and his staff, as well as my valued colleagues Senator Julian Cyr and Representative Sarah Peake, for their hard work with my office in achieving $1.68 million in a MassWorks grant to help make this important project possible,” State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster) said. “Our friends in Town of Brewster government are proving, yet again, that finding a pathway to building workforce housing to keep young families in our community is a priority.”
“Brewster Woods is exactly what Cape Cod needs right now – affordable rentals for our workforce, families, and seniors who live here year-round. The pandemic exacerbated our housing shortage, making it more difficult than ever before for people to afford to live here,” said Housing Assistance CEO Alisa Magnotta. “We hope more towns on the Cape follow Brewster’s lead in making these types of developments possible, not only through funding, but in updating zoning to allow multifamily housing in areas that make sense. We’re at a tipping point and construction is needed if we want to ensure the Cape remains a thriving year-round community for all.”
Brewster Assistant Town Administrator Donna Kalinick said the “town is proud to be a partner in this new housing community. Brewster Woods exemplifies the collaborative partnerships that are needed to successfully build, manage, and sustain affordable housing.”
Brewster Housing Coordinator Jill Scalise said she hears from current, past and future residents every day about the need for stable housing that is affordable. “We thank all of the town departments and committees who helped make this day possible – contractor CC Construction; Coastal Engineering; Catalyst architects; and our partners POAH and Housing Assistance. We especially want to thank the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for awarding the town a MassWorks grant to help advance this important community to the finish line. It truly takes a village to create a village.”
Brewster Woods is the most recent POAH-Housing Assistance project to be undertaken on the Cape. In the fall of 2018, the two nonprofits finished High Meadow Townhomes, the third and final phase of a project that brought a total of 117 mixed-income apartments to Bourne.
The general contractor for the project is Delphi Construction of Mashpee. CC Construction of South Dennis completed the infrastructure improvements prior to the start of construction.
Brewster Woods will be highly energy-efficient and will feature a rooftop solar array which will offset its electricity costs.
Watch the ground breaking video here