Affordable Housing Projects
2Life Leland House Project
WATCH CDC fully supports 2Life's affordable housing proposal at the Leland Home. Waltham has a dire need for affordable housing, especially in a post-pandemic world. As rent costs go up, Waltham has entered into an affordability crisis and our marginalized community members are experiencing the worst of it. As a city and as a community, it is our job to ensure that all community members have equal access to safe and affordable housing.
"2Life is underway with the redevelopment of the former Leland Home rest home into 68 affordable apartments for seniors in the Waltham community. The new Leland House will include 63 one-bedroom apartments and 5 two-bedroom apartments within a beautiful new 3-story building with two inviting porches that pay homage to the existing Leland Home."
Learn more about 2Life's Leland House Project here
WATCH gained significant support for converting the Armory to affordable housing, however, at this time the owner does not seem willing to sell the property in a manner that would allow it to be developed as Affordable Housing. Thank you for your support and we hope there will be new opportunities soon to expand affordable housing in Waltham.
On 7/20/22, WATCH submitted this letter to the City Clerk:
Dear Clerk Vizard, WATCH CDC and Metro West CDC, through this communication, hereby withdraw, without prejudice, the proposal currently before the City Council to purchase the Waltham Armory using CPC funds. At this point in time, the proposal to purchase the Armory is not a viable project because, unfortunately, it is our understanding and experience that the owner of the Armory is not currently interested in selling the property at fair market value. If circumstances change, and the owner is willing to negotiate a fair deal, we will notify the CPC to re-request funding and seek City Council approval. We appreciate the CPC and Council’s consideration of this project. Thank you for communicating this to the Council. Daria Gere, Executive Director, WATCH CDC
WATCH is asking the City Council and Mayor to approve funding for Metro West CD to buy the abandoned Waltham Armory and convert it into 23 permanent affordable housing units.
On February 8th, the Waltham City Council voted to send the armory proposal back to the Waltham CPC for further review based on Mayor’s request that the proposal be amended to include evidence of site control and “as is” by right appraisal.
On February 9th, the CPC met to review its current proposal form and to clarify what the requirements for affordable housing development proposals are.
The proposal: CPA Affordable Housing request for Waltham Armory
Take Action to Support this Proposal:
Organizational Endorsement Form- your business or non-profit can support this proposal!
Contact your City Councillor and let them know you support the proposal. Waltham City Council
– The Armory has been abandoned for many years.
– The private owner could develop into another less desirable use.
– MetroWest CD will be able to get more than $6 million in federal and state tax $ to complete the development
– The City will maintain control by having a deed restriction on the property.
– Proposal is for 17 units for residents making 60% Area Median Income and 6 units for residents making 30% Area Median Income.
– There is a lack of affordable housing for Waltham’s low-wage workers in the service industry.
11-24-20 The CPC approved spending $5 Million to purchase and develop the Armory as affordable housing.
Next step: City Council will vote on the project.
El Comité de Preservación de la Comunidad de Waltham (CPC) se reunió el 24/11/20 y votó a favor de la propuesta de Desarrollo Colaborativo de MetroWest para convertir el abandonado Arsenal de Waltham en viviendas asequibles.
Gracias por su apoyo!
– El Arsenal ha estado abandonado durante muchos años.
– El propietario privado podría desarrollar otro uso menos deseable.
– Estamos pidiendo a la CPC 5 millones de dólares (3 millones para comprar la propiedad y 2 millones para desarrollarla.)
– MetroWest CD podrá obtener más de 6 millones de dólares en impuestos federales y estatales para completar el desarrollo.
– La ciudad mantendrá el control con una restricción de la propiedad.
History of the Armory
The Waltham State Armory, otherwise known as Company F State Armory, was built in 1908 and designed by Hartwell, Richardson, and Driver. The building is now listed under the National Register of Historic Places and was sold in 2014 to Heritage Hall LLC4. The property was sold by the State in 2004 and has been vacant for several years.
Community Need and Community Support
Recent housing data reveals a need for more affordable housing options in Waltham. As of 2016, there were 900 units available for families in the 30% income bracket (local AMI) but 3,705 families in this housing bracket. Additionally, only 1,895 units were available for the 50% income bracket, leaving a housing deficit of 275 units. This shortage of housing demonstrates the pressing need for increased affordable housing options. Based on the findings of the feasibility study, the Armory could be restored as a new affordable housing option for Waltham residents by adding permanently affordable units.
The inadequate supply of affordable housing for low-income families is among the most prevalent community health concern related to housing. If a family cannot afford to pay rent, they are forced to divert their resources from other necessities, such as food, clothing, and healthcare. Families who cannot afford housing will be driven away from Waltham and lose contact with family members and important community resources that Waltham specifically provides. A lack of affordable housing can result in residential instability, overcrowding, and homelessness.
In addition to the need for more affordable housing options in Waltham, the community’s persistent interest in and support for past affordable housing projects including the inclusionary zoning law and public hearings related to affordable housing suggest widespread support for inquiries into converting existing properties into affordable housing. Furthermore, WATCH held a community meeting about the Armory property where most neighbors were in support for a feasibility study. Based on our recent canvassing efforts in the neighborhood, there is widespread support for this initiative. Of the 23 households we spoke to in the surrounding area of the Armory, 74% were in favor of it being used for affordable housing.
Waltham Armory Housing Feasibility Study
In June 2020 a feasibility study was compiled by Meander Studio Collaborative Design for Metro West Collaborative Development and WATCH CDC. This study aims to investigate the feasibility of converting the Waltham Armory to affordable housing. Because the property is listed on the National Historic Register which, limits the modifications of the building that can be implemented, this report recommends a program of unit mixes that could be accommodated inside of the building with nominal modifications to the exterior of the building. The study concluded that although there are several constraints and deficiencies that will require time and coordination to address, there is a clear path to the creation of approximately 23-25 units of affordable housing in the Waltham Armory. Progress will require a partnership with the owner, City, State Dept. of Housing and Community Development and the Mass. Historical Commission.
To view the feasibility study in detail click here.
Many nearby towns are investigating similar proposals. For more information on these proposals see below.
- Lynn Armory: The Lynn Armory is set to be converted into affordable housing for veterans.
- Newton Armory: The City aims to convert the Newton Armory into affordable housing units.
- Hudson Armory: The town is considering their options for uses for the Hudson Armory.