Apartment communities and new mixed income housing are our assets for growth.
Adding new single-family mixed income housing on under-utilized land attracts more residents to the North End while preserving the existing multi-family rental housing assures that teachers, nurses and first-responders have a place in our community to call home.
When teachers can’t afford to live in the communities where they work, it makes it harder to attract and retain the best teachers for our schools, driving down the overall quality of the education for our children and driving down property values.
Protecting the existing apartment communities also aims to maintain the “sense of place” and community already here which makes the North End a place where people can live a lifetime — as single adults, as families, as seniors — thanks to having a mix of affordability and housing types.
Challenges to demolishing existing apartment communities
It’s worth pointing out that targeting the existing apartment communities for demolition and family displacement doesn’t come without a cost or without challenges.
Here are a few of those challenges:
- Timely & Large Impact: The City has no site control of land in the North End. As a result, to quickly impact the area requires the City to develop policies addressing the scale of housing needed, while making it attractive for existing property-owners to work with the city in renovating and improving their properties for the benefit of themselves and their residents while keeping their rents affordable; thus, making them a partner in the area’s future.
- Economical: Maximizing housing inventory makes sense; renovating existing apartments is much more cost effective especially in the North End when compared to new construction requiring public subsidies for private developers.
- Land Acquisition: Today’s land and construction costs are high especially on sites that have existing development with profitable cash-flow. Current income-producing ability of the property must be taken into consideration when making an offer to purchase for repurposing. Added cost of demolition increases the overall costs of a project.
- Geography: Topographical and conservancy challenges on many parcels in the North End due to its proximity to the river and many streams limit the density of possible mixed-use developments and the applicability of numerous regulations.
The above challenges are mitigated if the existing “foot prints” could be used through preservation of existing NOAH stock (Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing); and, maintains the current inventory which helps to stabilize the rents keeping them more affordable even without public subsidies. This is nothing more than the law of supply & demand.