Affordable housing plans aired for former Northampton nursing home

  • The old Northampton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on Bridge Road in Northampton has been vacant since 2011. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • The former Northampton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on Bridge Road has been vacant since 2011. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/10/2022 8:44:01 PM
Modified: 1/10/2022 8:43:09 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The public got its first look Monday evening at a proposed overhaul of the vacant Northampton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a $25.3 million project that would create 60 units of affordable housing.

The 6.2-acre property at 737 Bridge Road has been vacant since 2011. The Pointer Fund and Pointer Development, based in Miami and run by Amalfi Gayosso, a UMass Amherst alumna with ties to Northampton and experience in building affordable housing, bought the property for $1.9 million at auction in April 2021 and formed 737 Northampton LLC.

At Monday’s meeting of the Northampton Housing Partnership, Laura Baker, real estate development director for Valley Community Development Corp., explained that Valley CDC is negotiating a joint venture agreement with 737 Northampton LLC to develop a new project called Prospect Place.

“I would emphasize that this is still very much early in the planning and conceptual stage,” Baker said.

The proposed project, featuring apartments ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms, calls for a full gutting and renovation of the former nursing home’s interior while conserving the structure and exterior. Asbestos abatement is anticipated to cost $500,000.

Valley CDC, which recently co-developed the Lumber Yard mixed-use development on Pleasant Street in Northampton, plans to seek Community Preservation Act money from the city this spring. Under what Baker called “our best-case scenario timeline,” construction would begin in the spring of 2024 and take about 15 months.

“One of the things that interests us about this property is the location,” Baker said, and “we want to reuse as much of the site as possible. … We would want to work with the city to develop a new traffic plan for access to the property.”

The site is on a PVTA bus route and close to Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Jackson Street School, Childs Park, businesses on King Street and the Northampton Survival Center. Baker said developers are looking at possible outdoor recreation amenities at the housing development that would be open to the public.

Ward 1 City Councilor Stanley Moulton, in an email newsletter to constituents, said he “will ensure that there is robust community engagement.” He said city planning officials and the developer “are committed to providing ample opportunities for hearing from neighbors and others in the community with an interest in this project.”

In February, Valley CDC plans to conduct community outreach to identify any feedback from the immediate neighborhood.

Speaking to the Gazette, Baker said her grandmother lived at the Northampton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, and “it’s been sad to see it neglected.” She said she is excited for the chance to overhaul a property that she regularly drives by and has often dreamed of turning into affordable housing, but, “It’s not a done deal. It’s the germ of the idea.”

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.


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