HAC Given Control Of 107 Main Street Property

By: Ryan Bray

Topics: Orleans news , Affordable housing , Housing Assistance Corporation

The Orleans Select Board voted 4-0 Dec. 15 to convey control of property at 107 Main St. to Housing Assistance Corporation. The Hyannis nonprofit plans to develop 14 affordable housing units on the 1.3 acre site. FILE PHOTO

ORLEANS - Housing Assistance Corporation has been given control of property at 107 Main St., and the nonprofit also appears on track to secure funding necessary to bring housing to the site.

Both the select board and the town's affordable housing trust board voted unanimously Dec. 15 to approve a land disposition agreement with HAC, giving it site control of the 1.3 acre parcel where the former Masonic Lodge currently sits. Mark Mathison of the select board abstained from the vote.

HAC is partnering with the trust board to bring 14 units of affordable rental housing to the site. The trust board has committed $875,000 of its own funding to the project, while efforts are still ongoing to obtain the remaining $1 million of the town's end of the project financing.

Town Counsel Michael Ford said the agreement has not been finalized, as he is still working out a final agreement with HAC's attorney, Peter Freeman. The select board voted to approve the agreement pending the completion of a finalized version.

"I'm optimistic that this will get done," Ford told the board.

The agreement stipulates that HAC develop the property in accordance with the request for proposals issued by the trust board through which HAC was hired for the project. The nonprofit plans to raze the existing lodge and build four interconnected farmhouse-style buildings on the property.

The 14 units, if and when constructed, are required to be kept as rentals and must be rented at up to 80 percent of the area median income in Barnstable County. Ford said any breach of the agreement would be grounds for the property to be conveyed back to the town.

The property will not be closed upon until HAC has all its financing and permitting in place, Ford said.

"Mike put a lot of time and effort into this to make sure [the town's] interests are protected," said Alan McClennen, chair of the affordable housing trust board.

David Quinn, HAC's director of housing development, said the agreement is an important first step toward seeing the project through to completion, especially as the agency continues to work to secure the necessary funds for project construction.

"This gives us site control in the eyes of our funders," he told the select board.

Meanwhile, HAC is exploring multiple avenues for netting the remaining $1 million of the town's share of the funding. Quinn said HAC expects some money to come to the project through an earmark in the senate's version of the state ARPA bill, which passed in November. That money, if it comes through, would reduce the $1 million request HAC has submitted to the community preservation committee for consideration at annual town meeting this spring.

The 107 Main St. project is one of two housing projects town officials say could break ground by late 2022. The Pennrose development, which will bring 62 affordable units to the site of the former Cape Cod 5 headquarters on West Road, is seeking housing assistance tax credits, McClennen said. If those come through, he said constriction is expected to start by the end of next year.

Construction is expected to take 18 months. Pennrose is also seeking a total of $1 million in funding from eight Cape towns to put toward the project, McClennen said.

"It's not simple, but everyone is working hard to make this happen," he said.

Email Ryan Bray at ryan@capecodchronicle.com