Smith Invites Proposals for Affordable Housing at Near-Downtown Site
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Smith College has issued a request for proposals (RFP), seeking developers interested in creating permanent affordable housing units at
36 Bedford Terrace, a property at the corner of State Street currently owned by the college. Issuing the RFP advances Smith’s commitment to replace market-rate affordable housing that will be removed for the construction of an engineering and molecular sciences building at Green Street and Belmont Avenue.
According to Ruth Constantine, the college’s vice president for finance and administration, the Bedford Terrace property could be made available for a price as low as $1 if that were necessary for a developer to meet the affordability guidelines specified by the college.
“When our Trustees established the Smith Affordable Housing Development Fund, one scenario envisioned was being able to write down the value of contributed property in order to facilitate its use for affordable housing,” she explained.
The 36 Bedford property is currently assessed by the City at about $1.175 million.
The 21,000-square-foot building at 36 Bedford Terrace currently contains 20 apartments used by the college to house students in its Ada Comstock Scholars program for students of non-traditional age. Plans have been under way for some time to replace housing for these students with a facility that would particularly accommodate those with families.
Smith intends to sell the building at 36 Bedford Terrace outright and to lease the underlying land for 99 years. Documents would include affordability covenants to assure long-term affordability of the rental units. Developers are being asked to prepare plans that assure that a majority of the units would be affordable to households at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income. In addition, space would be reserved, if needed, for tenants of the apartments that will be removed on Belmont and Arnold avenues.
The college and an advisory committee consisting of Bill Brandt from Smith, Bob Reckman and Fran Volkmann will review proposals. The college expects to select a developer later this spring.
Requests for proposals were mailed to a number of non-profit and for-profit developers in the region. Other parties interested in submitting a proposal can access the request for proposals on the College’s Web site, at www.smith.edu/newbuilding/community.php.
Said Constantine: “We believe this site, so close to downtown, is an appealing location. We are very pleased to be able to make it available for those seeking affordable housing in Northampton.”
The Smith Affordable Housing Development Fund was established by the college in the fall of 2003 in anticipation of the science expansion. The $3-million fund
($2.2 million for housing development, $800,000 for property acquisition, if necessary), is intended to assist developers interested in building affordable housing. In addition to selling the Bedford Terrace property for apartment development, the college has also contacted property owners to assess their interest in increasing housing density in the West Street area near the Smith campus.
Office of College
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174