Meeting Thursday October 7, 2019


On Thursday night, Mickey Northcutt of North Shore CDC presented the plan for redevelopment of the St. James School.
There will be 32 units, all of which are intended for those 55 and older. The majority of these units will be affordable, with these affordable options divided into three price levels. The remaining units will be market rate.
Here is the breakdown:
Market Rate – 30% of the units (10 units)
Affordable – 70% of units (22 units. Affordability is defined as a percentage of Area Median Income.)
— Extremely Low Income – 30% AMI
— Very Low Income – 50% AMI
— Low Income – 60% AMI
The parking will be provided in the rear adjacent to Bridge Street, and because the project will be permitted under the newly passed Municipal or Religious Reuse Special Permit, residents will not be eligible for resident-sticker-parking passes. This should alleviate concern over increased parking demand on Federal Street due to the addition residents.
The interior layout of the building will be maintained, with some additional partitions to create individual units and an internal elevator shaft, and the exterior will be completely restored. All work on the exterior of the building must be approved by the Salem Historic Commission since it is in a Local Historic District, and all interior and exterior work must be approved by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, because the project will be financed in part with Federal and State Historic Tax Credits.

In addition, in response to a request made at the meeting, the Federal Street sidewalk will be replaced with brick, as opposed to the present asphalt.
There will be trees and greenery added to the rear lot (though this plan is not finalized), as well as expected improvements in coordination with the City to the Bridge Street sidewalk connecting with the Community Life Center.
In sum, the project presented last night appears to represent a genuine improvement to the condition of the building and to the street-scape, as well a providing housing to seniors and offering some amount of genuinely affordable housing.
The Community Process for this project runs from November 2019 to January 2020.
There will be an open house at the St. James School sometime in mid-January. The public will be able to tour the school building and ask questions. Also, the project will be presented to affordable housing advocates, historic preservation advocates and the Council of Aging for their input.