for 99 years
New 1, 2 and 3
Acres of Publicly Accessible
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.
Design, Environment, Resiliency
Climate protection and land use.
History and Story
Salem Neck and social support.
The values this project must maintain.
Cooperative planning and design.
Supporting all current and future residents.
Resident and relocation services tailor made for the needs of all current and future Leefort Terrace residents.
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units could become uninhabitable, displacing the Leefort Terrace residents.Built to standards more than six decades out of date and located in a floodplain that does not allow residential housing units on the ground floor, redevelopment of Leefort Terrace is the only option.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 completed its review of the project and has granted approval in November 2022, and the City Council has approved the Urban Center Housing Tax-Increment Financing (UCH-TIF) Agreement in January 2023. The development team is now working to finish assembling the financing and work with residents on a plan for temporary relocation. We are targeting November/December 2023 to begin construction.
Redeveloping Leefort Terrace is a rescue mission for these current 50 low-income elderly and disabled households, and future households who will call Leefort Terrace home. Given that these 50 1-bedroom units are all on the ground floor in garden style buildings in a coastal floodplain, the State and Federal regulations will not allow for renovation in their current configuration. In order for these public housing to remain in perpetuity, it must be rebuilt in a configuration that removes the apartments from the flood plain, such as building the units on a podium.If nothing is done to rebuild these units, they will continue to be exposed to flooding, which will worsen due to more frequent and stronger storm surges already happening. Expected sea level rise will put these garden style units at further risk of being under water resulting in mold growth and ultimately the displacement of the 50 low-income elderly and disabled households who live at Leefort Terrace.