Nonprofit Senior Housing Provider Takes Control of Former Marshall Middle School Site

Special to the Journal

2Life Communities, the organization selected by the City to redevelop the former Thurgood Marshall Middle School property, will sign a Land Development Agreement (LDA) that transfers the responsibility for the property from the City to 2Life.

Under the LDA, which is expected to be signed this month, 2Life will install fencing, gates, and cameras at the Porter Street site and maintain the property while it obtains financing for the project.

According to City Planner Aaron Clausen, 2Life’s bid was selected in February from four responses to an RFP issued by the City last August. The City will receive $1.71 million for the property, which housed Thurgood Marshall Middle School (and the former Eastern Junior High) until the new building opened on Brookline Street in 2015.

The City has tried to sell the site since 2018 but prior attempts were not successful.

“The previous approach was to try to sell the property as soon as possible,” Clausen said. “Because we want to create affordable housing, and knowing the financing takes time, signing this land development agreement makes sense.”

While the City will still own the property, 2Life will be responsible for maintenance and security. Because the financing will involve obtaining Low Income Housing Tax Credits and other state and federal funds, likely over a two-year cycle, the land sale may not take place until 2025, making it a priority for the City to relinquish maintenance responsibilities.

“We are pleased to be taking this important step in the redevelopment of the Marshall site,” said Mayor Jared C. Nicholson. “It has been a long process, but the end result will yield urgently needed housing for seniors in the City.”

2Life plans to create 114 affordable rental apartments for seniors age of 62 and over on Porter Street, including 28 for households earning no more than 30 percent of area median income (AMI), 74 for households up to 50 percent of AMI and 10 for those up 60 percent of AMI. Two apartments will be set aside for on-site resident managers to provide 24-hour emergency support. The cost of the project is estimated at $67 million, with nearly $30 million coming from federal and state tax credit equity.

“The Marshall School project is a great example of how the City can utilize public land for the public benefit,” said Clausen, “and the City’s approach to selling the former school is consistent with the goals and objectives outlined in the Housing Lynn plan.”

Clausen said that 2Life was selected for several reasons, including: proposing the largest number of housing units at no more than 50 percent of AMI, demonstrating the capacity to carry out a project of this scope, and proposing a feasible financing strategy.

Founded in 1965, Brighton-based 2Life has more than 2,000 apartments occupied, under construction or planned at six campuses in Massachusetts, including 150 at Solimine House at the site of the former Union Hospital on Lynnfield Street. 2Life offers both income-based and market-rate housing units, with a focus on affordable housing for seniors.

“I am excited that this is moving forward now because I have been getting a lot of questions from the residents about this,” said Ward 3 City Councilor Coco Alinsug. “I am also looking forward to bringing the representatives of 2Life and our city planners for a neighborhood meeting so residents could hear from them directly and get to ask questions.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.