$200,000 grant for senior housing on Rockport Fall Town Meeting  warrant

The lot at 5 Granite St. in Rockport, once home to Silva Brothers Florists, is where Granite Street Crossing LLC plans to construct two buildings containing six townhouses and 17 senior housing units.

ROCKPORT — Granite Street Crossing, the upcoming affordable housing development at 5 Granite St., may receive a third round of funding from the Rockport Community Preservation Act Committee.

The committee will ask Fall Town Meeting on Monday, Sept. 9, to OK a $200,000 community preservation fund grant to Granite Street Crossing LLC, a subsidiary of Beverly-based Harborlight Community Partners, the non-profit housing development firm spearheading the project. Previously, the committee allocated $20,000 for construction in 2017. Last year, another grant worth $250,000 was awarded.

The affordable housing development will feature a two-story building with 17 supportive senior units and six, two-story family townhouses. Other features include an on-site, part-time case worker, 56 parking spaces and senior transportation van stops. The project will also improve accessibility on the hilly plot with a flattened driveway and new pedestrian crosswalks.

Granite Street Crossing has been in the works since 2016. The permitting and design process was completed the following year.

"The main thing we're working on now is to secure the state funding for the project," said Kristin Carlson, director of real estate development at Harborlight, "which is a bit time consuming." 

Unfortunately, the project was unable to secure state funding last year, but Harborlight plans on applying again this winter. Carlson believes the state will be more receptive to the project now that it has increased support from local organizations. In addition to the Rockport Community Preservation Act Committee, Harborlight has partnered with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corp., Local Initiatives Support Corp., and Enterprise Foundation to make Granite Street Crossing a reality. In addition, the town of Rockport has agreed to used some of the money it receives in federal assistance from the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program to fund the project.

If all goes according to plan and Harborlight receives state funding next summer, construction is expected to begin in 2021. During this time, the building on the lot previously owned by Silva Brothers Florists will be removed. 

Granite Street Crossing marks Harborlights' third fixed-income elderly property in Rockport, following Pigeon Cove Ledges and the Rockport High School Apartments. Carlson hopes Granite Street Crossing will also improve services at their two established locations, such as providing more office space for case workers.

"Both (Pigeon Cove Ledges and the Rockport High School Apartments) have substantial wait-lists," she said, "so we know there's a need in Rockport."

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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