RECENT NEWS: The redevelopment of Leefort Terrace will be brought in front of the City Council. Read our letter to the Council
New Units
Acres of Open Space
Carbon Neutral Goal

An affordable and climate resilient future for Salem

A rescue mission to replace the obsolete Leefort Terrace with a newly imagined affordable, regenerative, and climate resilient development that works in harmony with natural and social systems.


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Story of Place

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Site History

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Document Library

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Resident and relocation services tailor made for the needs of all current and future Leefort Terrace residents.

Common Questions

Why is Leefort Terrace being redeveloped?

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Built to standards more than six decades out of date and located in a floodplain that does not allow residential housing units on the ground floor, redevelopment of Leefort Terrace is the only option.

Why here? Why do you have to rebuild on this site?

Most development sites have both positive and challenging aspects.  It’s not uncommon for there to be questions from neighbors who are uncomfortable with what this change will mean for the aesthetic and feel of their community. We have heard these questions already about this site and have been working to create a site plan and approach that takes as many concerns as possible. The 50 units at Leefort Terrace need to be replaced. Due to public housing operating economics and economies of scale, the state public housing cannot be operated in a financially sustainable manner without being part of a larger development that includes other affordable and/or market rate apartments.

The Leefort Terrace land is already owned by the Salem Housing Authority and legally dedicated to affordability to lower income households.  Land costs are too high for the purchase of another site location to be feasible.  Any other site would also likely bring up similar questions of “Why here?”.

Our concepts and goals for how to design seek to mitigate the impacts while providing much needed housing in an area close to amenities and transportation and greatly enhancing underutilized, vacant parcels into a beautiful public park. We realize that there are many competing perspectives and goals. Any development likely won’t make everyone completely happy, but we hope as the process continues and plans are presented and revised, results can be achieved that replace the existing public housing in a manner that is economically and environmentally sustainable, and harmonizes with broader goals and assets of the residents of Salem.  

Will current Leefort residents be permanently displaced?

No. While current residents will be temporarily relocated offsite during construction, all residents in good standing will have the right to return to the newly redeveloped Leefort Terrace. Beacon and SHA will be responsible to cover all costs associated with relocation. We will hire a very well-regarded affordable 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. Upon return to the new building, Leefort Terrace residents will continue to pay 30% of their income towards rent, as they do today.

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