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Plans for affordable housing in old Central Park Plaza to be unveiled

Plans for a 30-unit affordable housing development in the old Central Park Plaza area will be unveiled Monday at a community meeting in Elim Christian Fellowship Church.

The $9 million housing project, called Elim Townhomes, is the first project taken on by the Elim Community Development Corp., which is associated with the church. The 2.23-acres of vacant land are located across Chalmers from the church.

"We wanted to make an impact on the community," said Tim Hogues, board chairman of the development corporation. "This is one way we are able to do that – by providing affordable housing."

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The church's town homes would be built adjacent to a $100 million project by Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. that could bring hundreds of new residents east of Main Street.

Under the church's plan,  five town home-style buildings would house two, three and four-bedroom apartments. The development also includes a community building and a playground.

The apartments would be available for rent to tenants earning 60 percent of the area median income. For a family of four, that translates to $40,920.

Elim is working with Belmont Housing Resources  to apply for a 9 percent tax credit grant from state Division of Housing and Community Renewal and also will seek HOME funds. Silvestri Architects is designing the townhouses, which developers said would conform with the city’s new Green Code. David Pawlik's CSS Construction will build the town homes.

Elim bought the land for $289,900 from Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., which is developing the rest of the 27-acre area of east of Main Street that is now mostly vacant land.

In the spring, Ciminelli unveiled details of a five-year, $100 million proposal, the first part of which includes a series of apartment buildings and town homes on the north and south sides of an extension of Chalmers Avenue at Holden Street.

"I think it's going to be a catalyst to revitalize that entire neighborhood," said Dennis Penman, executive vice president of Ciminelli Real Estate, in April.

The development firm owned by Paul Ciminelli is acting on behalf of the project's primary owner, Louis Ciminelli, who ran LPCiminelli until he  resigned in February to battle criminal corruption charges. Louis Ciminelli and his partners purchased and demolished the derelict shopping plaza and then cleaned and cleared the site under the state's Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The first phase of the Ciminelli project, estimated to cost $24 million and occupy 3.9 acres, will feature four three-story apartment buildings with 13 units each, for a total of 52 market-rate apartments expected to rent for between $900 and $1,500 a month. The project also would include 32 single-family attached town homes, with a mix of two- and three-bedroom designs, ranging in size from 1,200 to 1,500 square feet. The company plans to market the town homes, which will have garage parking, at prices between $200,000 and $230,000.

Apartments, townhomes planned for first phase of Central Park Plaza site

Hogues hopes that the Elim Townhomes, adjacent to Ciminelli's project, will serve as a model on how to incorporate affordable housing into new residential developments.

"Housing is always a hot topic especially when you have new development that is popping up," he said. "Downtown is really being flooded with warehouses being turned into lofts. With the development in the former Central Park/Highland Park area, we wanted to show that we can be a model. There can be a blend of market rate and affordable housing."

Before Elim takes its plans before the city Planning Board, it is holding a meeting to gather input from the community at 7 p.m. Monday at the Elim Christian Fellowship Church, 70 Chalmers Ave.


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