Affordable, Veterans Housing Near Downtown Haverhill to be Dedicated Thursday with Ceremony

New 44-unit Gerson development on Washington Street. (WHAV News photograph.)

A ribbon cutting takes place Thursday morning at 11, formally dedicating 44 apartments built on the site of the former Gerson Furniture Co. in Haverhill.

Keeping the familiar Gerson name, the new building at 181 Washington St., was developed by by the Coalition for a Better Acre of Lowell, working in conjunction with Haverhill’s Veterans Northeast Outreach Center. Coalition Executive Director Yun-Ju Choi, a guest this week on WHAV’s morning program, says the complex is more than just apartments.

“There will be eight one-bedroom units, 31 two-bedroom units and five three-bedroom units with some commercial space. There will be about 2,000 feet of commercial space and we are in talks with Wildflower Montessori School, to be housed in the commercial space,” she says.

At least 70 percent of the units are set aside for veterans and veterans’ households. Choi says more 500 people applied for the 44 units, which were filled on a “lottery basis.” She adds her organization is looking for other opportunities to build, but any projects need to meet certain guidelines

“Because we are building homes for low- to moderate-income families, we tend to try to build housing close to transportation, groceries, and for people who may not have cars. We also tend to look for projects that are harder for private developers to do. Because of our funding sources we are able to build more difficult developments,” she explains.

Choi also notes one of the challenges of the Gerson project in Haverhill was digging into a steep, back hill, to the rear of the building

“That was a little scary when we first started. That was a very difficult wall to build. It needed a lot of engineering, but it looks great now, and we are able to use that land to build a parking deck which is much needed in that area,” she says.

Choi says the first residents will be moving in by December first.

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