Swampscott 'Westcott' 114-Unit Housing Complex Set To Open In 2025
Swampscott 'Westcott' 114-Unit Housing Complex Set To Open In 2025

Swampscott 'Westcott' 114-Unit Housing Complex Set To Open In 2025

SWAMPSCOTT, MA — The 114-unit apartment Swampscott 40B apartment complex on Essex Street, formerly known as “Elm Place” during 18 months of rigorous debate within the town and among neighbors regarding the scope of the project, is on track to open in the middle of 2025 after WinnCompanies said it secured $69.1 million in necessary financing for the project.

The building will now be known as “The Westcott” and will include 16 apartments for those earning up to 30 percent of Area Median Income, 62 apartments for those earning up to 60 percent of AMI, 16 “middle-income” or “workforce housing” apartments for those earning up to 110 percent of AMI and 20 units at market rates, according to WinnCompanies.

Plans for the building were the subject of dozens of public hearings in front of the Swampscott Zoning Board as both town leaders and abutters sought to diminish the density of the building. But because the town is below the 10 percent requirement for affordable housing, according to state metrics, developers were able to forgo many zoning restrictions and eventually won approval for the building where construction began this past fall.

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“We’re grateful to our state and local financing partners for their support of this transformational, transit-oriented development,” WinnDevelopment Executive Vice President Adam Stein said. “The mix of incomes and unit types will add more options to the town’s housing stock, including workforce housing, and create a community that will appeal to a broad mix of young professionals, commuters, downsizing households, and families.”

While area residents expressed concerns about the parking, traffic and public safety effects of the size of the development, its approval was praised by affordable housing advocates who argue that housing density needs to be increased — especially near transit-oriented locations such as the commuter rail — amid an affordable housing crisis in the region and a state public transportation compliance funding mandate to do so.

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“The Wescott is a great example of innovative planning and smart housing solutions we need to keep Massachusetts affordable and competitive,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Ed Augustus in a statement through WinnCompanies. “The Healey-Driscoll Administration is pleased to support this mixed-income, transit-oriented development that will help build a vibrant community in Swampscott.”

Swampscott Affordable Housing Trust Chair Kim Martin-Epstein said the trust was “honored and fortunate” to have a role in the project and that the long debate about the project “advanced a much-needed conversation about housing, zoning, equity, and access in our strategically located but small town.”

The project was scaled down from its original 128-unit plans with the final building plans to include three studio units, 71 one-bedroom units, 28 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom units. There will be 131 dedicated parking spots after another long debate in which area residents wanted more parking to alleviate pressure on residential streets and spots, while developers and other community planners argued that having fewer spots would encourage more use of mass transit and less climate pollution.

Developers also agree to an easement for an MBTA underpass entrance to a proposed Rail Trail extension.
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Developers said residents will receive a variety of transit-oriented amenities and features, including commuter passes, a transit screen showing the status of commuter transportation lines, indoor and outdoor bicycle storage areas, shared rental bikes and rental cars, and shuttle services.

(Scott Souza is a Patch field editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at Scott.Souza@Patch.com. X/Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)

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