PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former East Street church is set to become Eastview Apartments.
AM Management LLC of Pittsfield is beginning construction on a $3.2 million makeover of Reigning Love Church across from Pittsfield High School into market-rate and affordable housing units.
The 20,000-square-foot building will be internally expanded to 26,000 square feet to house 27 units spread over three floors with three units designated for affordable housing.
Amenities will include laundry, storage, an outdoor picnic area, and bike parking areas that are reportedly in line with the city's Bike Facilities Master Plan.
"I think something that's unique about this project and something that you probably have not seen yet I would say around Pittsfield, is that mixture of market-rate and affordable housing within one building within one envelope," company representative Fahd Muhammad Zia said to the Community Preservation Committee on Thursday.
Zia said this development will generate construction employment in Berkshire County and create quality housing in the downtown, aligning with the Community Preservation Act's objectives. The 14 tenant parking spaces will require parking permits, adding an additional revenue stream for the city, he said.
The project has requested around $89,000 in Community Preservation Act funding for fiscal 2021.
"A general majority of our subcontractors are local, our plumbers are from the area and or electricians from the area as well, our HVAC people are from the area, and a lot of the materials that we are trying to prepare, they're all from local vendors," Zia said. "Even though I'm going to be honest because we're in the middle of construction right now, there's a significant cost saving for us to go with different vendors outside of the state but because we have a commitment that we want to help the local community that we try our very best to stick with local vendors."
He acknowledged the Tyler Street improvements that are underway including the streetscape project, the Morningstar Apartments, and Mill Town Capital's apartment complex development but said it is also important to contribute to the downtown area of Pittsfield.
"It not only helps the city and the cities quick and fast economic growth, but it will also help any prospective residents that are intending to move to Pittsfield," Zia said. "having a building right across Pittsfield High School that is well maintained and also has a nice facade to it, it's just an extra added benefit."
This project is also aimed to benefit the entire community by the increase of quality and newly constructed housing supply, he said, allowing individuals to grow their lives within the heart of the Berkshires and meet with Pittsfield's increasing demand for housing due to economic growth.
The committee had inquiries about the three proposed affordable housing units, as the company was asking for a subsidy to make the affordable rental units 80 percent of the median income. AM Management's application asked for a 10-year commitment and the committee requested that it run figures for longer term commitments such as 20 or 30 years.
"The longer the restriction, the better," City Planner CJ Hoss said. "So, I think it would be great at a bare minimum to be looking for 20 years and I think that the counter in my mind would be if the committee would like a longer restriction and is willing to work with the applicant, and is interested in making a positive recommendation on the project, what is that amount for three units that would get you to 20 years or 30 years? Not necessarily saying you should expect that answer tonight, but I think that would be something that would be worth knowing is part of your thought process and in moving forward with this specific application."
Zia confirmed that the project has also received a tax increment financing agreement from the city. A TIF is a tool used by municipal governments to stimulate economic development in a targeted geographical area. AM also has secured private investors, he said.
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