Haverhill Councilors Approve 10 Affordable Townhouses for Mount Washington

Bread and Roses Housing is building 10 affordable housing units in the city’s Mount Washington neighborhood.

Architect’s rendering of townhouses to be built in the Mount Washington neighborhood.

Ten townhouse-style homes are coming to the site of the former St. George’s Catholic church in Haverhill’s Mount Washington neighborhood.

Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night approved a special permit for what will permanently be owner-occupied residences spread across two buildings at 432 Washington St. and 0 Gilbert Ave. Bread and Roses Housing of Lawrence purchased the property last year. Its executive director, Yesenia Gil, acknowledged some will miss the church that was vacated 20 years ago.

“The property itself, while it may have some emotional sentiment for those who may have attended the church or their families had attended the church, that the best use of it is to tear it down just because of its current state.”

She said Bread and Roses Housing was established 30 years ago and has since moved into North Andover and now Haverhill. Each unit will be about 1,500 square feet. At other sites, Gil said, 60 percent of buyers are single, female heads of household, and 65 percent women heads of households. In Lawrence, mortgage payments on a Bread and Roses duplex is about $650 a month, while a North Andover single-family home mortgage is about $1,200 a month.

Under the deed, units may not be rented, resale prices must remain affordable and the developer retains rights of first refusal to buy back homes.

Bread and Roses’ lawyer Michael J. Migliori said the Mount Washington neighborhood has too many absentee landlords with owner-occupancy rates at only about 30 percent.

Urban Kindness’ Keith Boucher told councilors there has been much investment in the neighborhood from expansion of Fantini Bakery to construction of a new duplex house on a vacant lot. He said he and other neighbors have waited for such a project for three years. “All these things only mean good things if we invest in the neighborhood. I think the proposal being put in front of you tonight is a wise investment and not only in the neighborhood a building, but the people,” he said.

Community Development Division Director Andrew K. Herlihy said the city welcomes the project.

“This is really unique from a community development standpoint. This really represents a ticket to the middle class,” he said.

Once the $2.5-3 million project is completed, condominiums are expected to sell for between $125,000 and $150,000.