BEVERLY, Mass. — Beacon Communities and Harborlight Homes have received financing to redevelop the former Briscoe School in Beverly into a mixed-use community centered around affordable housing for seniors.
Located near the Atlantic Ocean approximately 15 miles north of Boston, the property will be called Beverly Village for Living and the Arts. The financing marks the first time a Massachusetts affordable housing deal has benefitted from funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), as well as local, state and additional federal funding, according to the development team.
Former classrooms will be turned into 85 units of affordable housing for low-income seniors, and former locker rooms will become six live/work studios with an artist occupancy preference. The former auditorium will be preserved for future use as a community performing arts space, maintaining the building’s historic connection to its community. The former gymnasium will house resident amenities, including community room, computer learning center, wellness and fitness spaces, library and reading room, and workshop.
The existing, three-story building will be completely rehabilitated while still preserving historical features, including the windows and facade. The building will feature numerous sustainable design features, including energy efficient lighting and heating/cooling systems; stormwater mitigation system; high-efficiency water fixtures; electric vehicle charging station; bike storage; and gardens with composting education.
The total project cost is approximately $55 million, according to The Salem News.
The redevelopment is near a commuter rail station, is accessible to the local bus system, is next door to the Beverly Council on Aging, and includes walking paths to the city’s pedestrian network.
Funding for the Beverly Village for Living and the Arts came together through a combination of federal and state LIHTC and historic tax credit equity, MassHousing, and state and local subsidies, as well as the $3 million in ARPA funding. A team from law firm Nixon Peabody LLP with deep experience in tax credit finance transactions worked with Beacon Communities to navigate and close the complex financing for the project.
Built in 1923, the Briscoe School served as a high school, junior high school and middle school until it closed in 2018 after the City of Beverly built a new school. The city chose Beacon Communities and Harborlight Homes to redevelop the site in 2019, and purchased the building in 2022.