The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News

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Two large affordable housing projects on the island broke key hurdles this week when some Edgartown and Oak Bluffs boards awarded separate offers to the non-profit Island Housing Trust (IHT) and its partner Boston Affirmative Investments Inc. to build the developments.

Both projects are the culmination of multi-year efforts, and both cities recently issued requests for proposals (RFPs).

In Edgartown, IHT and its investment partner were the sole bidders of a plan to develop 40 residential units on seven acres of city-owned land off Meshacket Road.

“It’s a long time to come,” Michael Donaroma, selected board member, said in a meeting Monday when the offer was awarded. “This is great news, things are progressing.”

The cost of the project is estimated at $ 20 million, according to tender documents.

An affordable housing subcommittee carried out the first audit of the project. IHT is the leading developer of affordable housing on the vineyard. Affirmative Investments is a Boston-based group that has helped develop more than 6,000 affordable housing units across the country, according to tender documents.

“The presentation was everything you could hope for for something the city has been working on for 15 years,” said Arthur Smadbeck, board member. Mr. Smadbeck served on the subcommittee.

The current plan calls for the construction of townhouses with space for 36 rental units and four owned units. Income eligibility requirements are specified, with rental housing for people earning 80 percent of the region’s median income and housing for people with slightly higher incomes. The occupants will be chosen by lot, with preference given to residents of Edgartown, who may represent up to 70% of the occupants.

The plan received praise from the subcommittee, city administrator James Hagerty told the meeting. “The committee was particularly impressed with affordability, building design, attention to green space construction practices and financial readiness. It is evident that the development team paid close attention to the environmental constraints at the site, and the resulting plan was approached with imagination and ingenuity, ”said Mr. Hagerty, reading a letter from the subcommittee.

The project then goes through an extensive regulatory approval and review process at regional and local levels. The expected completion date is 2025.

Meanwhile, in Oak Bluffs on Tuesday, the board of directors decided to begin contract negotiations with Island Housing Trust and Affirmative Investments for a 60-unit affordable housing development, kicking off a long-awaited project on the Southern property. Tier Housing of 7.8 acres.

The board of directors voted to accept an offer of $ 31.6 million from IHT, against a second offer of Onyx Group of Boston. Affordable Housing Committee chair Mark Leonard said the housing trust has outperformed Onyx Group in seven of the 11 metrics measured by the committee.

The recommendation to award the project to Island Housing Trust was unanimous, he said.

The board commended the committee for its role in the decision making process.

“It looks like the band. . . you are very interested in that, ”said Ryan Ruley, Board Member.

Board member Gail Barmakian praised the efforts of Dr Leonard in particular, noting that he has put a lot of work into the project.

The council agreed, also voting to form a committee for contract negotiations with Island Housing Trust which will include Ms Barmakian and Dr Leonard.

“In some ways, this is the end of the first phase and the start of a new phase,” Dr. Leonard said. “The work continues. “

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