Developer proposes 55+ housing on South Street

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Developer proposes 55+ housing on South Street
A for sale sign stands at the corner of Chestnut and South Street in Shrewsbury. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

SHREWSBURY – Developers want to build a nearly 200-unit residential development near the intersection of Route 20 and South Street in Shrewsbury. 

The project would be developed and operated by Greystar Real Estate and Property Management, whose Northeast offices are headquartered in Boston. 

The developers gave an overview of the project during a Nov. 9 Board of Selectmen meeting, partly to see if the selectmen were interested in pursuing what is called a Local Initiative Program (LIP) application to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). 

According to the state’s website, the LIP is a state program that promotes the development of affordable housing by offering assistance to communities and developers. 

What is proposed

The site at 409 South St. spans just under 15 acres at the intersection of Route 20 and South Street with access off Chestnut Street.  

“It’s currently unoccupied, but for some light agricultural uses,” said Greystar’s Chris Legocki. 

Of the 196 units, 147 would be market rate and the remaining 49 would be affordable. 

The development would be restricted to active adults ages 55 and older. Legocki said the residents will live independently and there will not be assisted living services. 

In one of its other active adult communities, Greystar offers activities like pickleball and Hawaiian luaus. 

“It’s all about creating spaces to focus on embracing an active lifestyle and allowing the residents opportunities for engagement and socialization,” said Tom Schultz of the project’s architectural team.

Affordable housing

Assistant Shrewsbury Town Manager Kristen Las said the town has about 6.4 percent affordable units in its Subsidized Housing Inventory.

The town has been working toward the state’s minimum of 10 percent affordable units. Legocki said all of the 196 units in this development would count toward that inventory.

This would increase Shrewsbury’s percentage by about 1.7 percent, Las said.

“We’re over 500 units away from 10 percent on the 2010 census. It’s not known at this time when [the state] is going to get the data for the 2020 census,” Las said.

Next steps

Developers will continue to work on their site plan and prepare a development agreement with Shrewsbury over the next several weeks.

Legocki said the agreement would outline various commitments. 

The goal is to submit a final LIP application by Dec. 28. 

Once the project receives a project eligibility letter, developers can submit their permit application, which will kick off hearings with the Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Legocki envisions the process starting in the spring. 

Selectman Maurice DePalo asked if the ZBA was bound by the terms of an LIP.

“Technically, no,” responded the developer’s attorney, Karen Kepler.  

She said the ZBA doesn’t relinquish its authority under previous agreements. 

“But, one hopes that people are walking together down the path that, when the ZBA hearing takes place, things don’t have to be renegotiated,” Kepler said.