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Sergeant House receives $7.2M tax credit

  • A rendering of the planned Sergeant House expansion and renovation to begin in April 2019, by Marc Sternik of Dietz & Company Architects. SUBMITTED PHOTO



Staff Writer
Friday, July 27, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — A $7.2 million tax credit will fund the renovation and expansion of the Sergeant House affordable housing complex on Bridge Street starting next year.

The state Department of Housing and Community Development awarded the low-income tax credit on Wednesday to the Valley Community Development Corp. to expand its housing options for low-wage earners, the homeless, retirees and disabled people.

“I’m most excited because people will get better housing and there will be more folks who can afford to live in Northampton,” said Joanne Campbell, executive director of Valley CDC.

The $8.2 million project will double the size of the Sergeant House, 82 Bridge St., to 31 units, each equipped with its own bathroom and kitchen. Currently, 15 tenants share one kitchen and multiple bathrooms. Renovations will include a new elevator, a handicapped-accessible entryway, on-site property management and social service offices.

Temporary housing will be provided for tenants during construction, which Campbell says should begin next April and last about nine months. Valley CDC has hired a relocation specialist to help residents find temporary housing, and will cover any difference in rent.

“They are very excited,” Campbell said of the tenants.

The city of Northampton will provide $500,000 in additional funds through the Community Preservation Act and the federal Community Development Block Grant. The Northampton-based Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation provided funds for the preliminary architectural plans, site drawings and permits. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston also provided a $500,000 grant.

Campbell said Northampton’s city government is committed to building affordable housing, with new projects like Live 155, the Lumber Yard and upcoming Village Hill developments all setting aside low-income units.

“There’s a lot of good development that’s going on that’s serving lower income renters,” Campbell said. “Is there enough? Of course not.”

Sergeant House offers housing units to people earning less than 60 percent of the average median income for the Springfield metropolitan area, which is $33,900 for an individual, and $48,420 for four people. The complex has been owned and operated by Valley CDC since 1990.

About 25 percent of the Sergeant House’s new units will be set aside for people coming out of homelessness, and another 25 percent will be reserved for people earning less than 30 percent of the average median income.

Valley CDC manages about 53 housing units in Northampton, Florence and Easthampton, according to Campbell, and about 80 people are on a waitlist for existing housing units.

When Sergeant House reopens, everyone on the waitlist will be notified of the new units and can apply to live there through a lottery.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@gazettenet.com.