The Business of Building Everett’s Future With Smart Growth

The full length of Broadway, from the Malden line to the Charlestown line,  is undergoing a  surge in new construction unlike any in the city’s history, with almost $3 billion in new development either under construction or already-completed.

The boom is transforming the city’s main thoroughfare, with a multi-layered combination of affordable housing, rental housing, and new commercial establishments. The multi-faceted projects also have provided the opportunity for thousands of jobs for Everett residents, who are given priority in hiring.

Artist rendering of the 600 Broadway project.

After more than a decade of hard work and bucking the odds, Mayor Carlo DeMaria and his team are transforming Everett for the present and future generations of residents to live, work, and raise their families.

“The strategic, transit oriented development that is underway in Everett demonstrates our focus on attracting modern commercial businesses that will bring higher paying job opportunities for our residents,” said Mayor DeMaria. “The additional tax revenue that is generated by these new businesses will help  Everett to continue to prevent our residential tax rate from increasing while maintaining and expanding investment in the city services that are important to our residents.”

The star of these developments is the Encore Resort on the Charlestown line.  With an investment of more than $2.6 billion, Wynn Casinos, from its opening day in June, 2019, has exceeded expectations. 

The project was built on a former brownfield that had been yielding only $300,000 in taxes. Today, the project affords Everett residents easier access to the waterfront on an environmentally-pristine site, for which Encore pays more than $30 million in taxes and fees annually into the city coffers, an economic windfall that keeps property taxes low for homeowners.

The solid financial picture for the city in turn contributes to the strong real estate market for Everett property-owners and has earned the city a ranking among the Best Places in the Commonwealth to live and raise a family.

 In addition to Encore, some of the other high-profile projects include:

 St. Therese’s Project

Construction on the former site of St. Therese’s parish on Broadway is moving along quickly. The project will provide 77 affordable rental homes with supportive services for seniors offered by East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC), as well as six townhomes designated for first-time buyers. The project is being built by The Neighborhood Developers (TND), who have developed many successful projects in Chelsea and Revere over the years. The completion date is scheduled for next year.

Pope John

High School site

Situated right on the Malden line is the two-acre site of the former Pope John High School.

The school closed in 2018 after having been operated for more than 50 years by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The legal process is clearing its final hurdle with TND as the developer.  A formal disposition agreement between the City and TND for the Pope John site is expected to be submitted to the City Council in the coming weeks.

 A Request for Proposals was sent out in October, 2020. The conditions of the proposal reflect the input from the residents who attended the public hearings. The site will have 76 affordable units of housing for veterans and their families, as well as 62 units of affordable housing for senior citizens. There will be two buildings and the height will not exceed the height of the present buildings.

 DeMaria led the way to purchase the site from the Archdiocese of Boston in 2019.  The project is expected to be completed in less than four years.  “This is the mayor’s vision and Pope John was his idea…It’s not every day a City or Town in Massachusetts puts up its own money to buy a property and bid it for affordable housing,” said former City Planner Tony Sousa.

 Commenting on the proposal,  DeMaria said, “What everyone in our community can agree upon is the need to find more affordable housing options for our residents. By thinking creatively about how we could put the Pope John site to best use, we have found a way to meet the most pressing need of creating more affordable units for our seniors who want to remain in Everett and also acknowledging our veterans for their service.”

600 Broadway

The new, 85-unit development that will contain a locally-owned restaurant at the crest of the hill on Broadway, known as The 600, is moving along. The developer for the building is Volnay Capital. While the height had been a concern to some residents, the final approval of the project was given by the autonomous Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) with a 4-1 vote in February, 2020. The vote by the ZBA was taken after extensive public hearings that saw support from the community.

 The lone dissenter on the ZBA, Commissioner Mike Dantone, said at the time that he felt the six-story height was too tall. However, the height is only three feet over what is allowed.

The rental units, though not officially designated as affordable, are expected to be below-market rate.

“Despite being ‘market-rate units’, they will be priced significantly lower than other buildings we’ve seen go up or are planned,” said Steve Tocco of Volnay Capital.  “We plan our market rate to be more affordable without the official designation.”

Similar, below-market-rate projects on Shirley Ave. in Revere recently have been approved in that city. There will be 37 parking spaces provided in the project. The price tag for project building is expected to be $28 million.

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