Leefort Terrace is a State Public Housing development for elderly and disabled households adjacent to Collins Cove in Salem, MA. Built in 1958, the 3.1 acre development is comprised of 50 1-bedroom units clustered in 7 one-story garden apartment style buildings, plus a building consisting of a small community room.
Massachusetts stands out in that it has developed and funds State Public Housing. However, overtime the operating subsidy available has not kept up with current operating and maintenance cost.
The Salem Housing Authority (SHA) receives approximately $420/unit/month in rent including utility costs. Residents pay 30% of their income towards rent and the State pays the difference, up to $420/month. This incredibly low rental income makes it very difficult for SHA to cover all the capital needs of the development.
No significant modernization has been possible since it was built in 1958. As a result, the units and buildings are in poor condition and have nearly reached the end of their useful life. Without any action, these units could become uninhabitable, displacing the Leefort Terrace residents.
Built to standards more than six decades out of date and located in a floodplain that does not allow residential housing units on the ground floor, redevelopment of Leefort Terrace is the only option.
The Salem Housing Authority and Beacon Communities have pulled together a creative and inventive design and engineering team to collect initial information about the condition and constraints of the Leefort Terrace site. Working with Regenesis Group and the design team, SHA and Beacon have been undertaking a collaborative approach to planning and implementing the replacement of the obsolete Leefort apartments and creation of a newly imagined Leefort Terrace in a way that harmonizes our mission with the aspirations of residents and Salem as a whole to create a development process and ultimately a development with positive impact.
Various stakeholders have shared their perspectives with us on what makes Salem unique and what might be missing. Through this regenerative and iterative process has evolved a development that is set to harmonize with the community and natural systems while also serving as a catalyst and inspiration upon which other groups and individuals can build. The Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit was approved for Leefort Terrace by the Salem Zoning Board of Appeals in October 2022. The Salem Conservation Commission has also completed its review of the project and has granted approval in November 2022.
Current Leefort residents will be temporarily relocated offsite during construction, and all residents in good standing will have the right to return to the newly redeveloped Leefort Terrace. Upon return to the new building, Leefort Terrace residents will continue to pay 30% of their income towards rent including utilities, as they do today. Beacon and SHA will be responsible to cover all costs associated with relocation. A housing relocation consultant, Housing Opportunities Unlimited, that will work individually with each resident throughout the entire relocation process to help them find the best fit for their temporary relocation needs.