Advocates Want Affordable Housing Included in Proposed Luxury Apartment Deal in Lynn

While the project won’t make room for affordable units in their plans, it did commit $3 million to an affordable housing fund

NBC Universal, Inc.

A deal struck between the City of Lynn and a housing developer is set to create a fund specifically designated to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis in the Massachusetts city. But local affordable housing advocates argue it’s not enough.

“I live in a subsidized building. Thank god that I live there because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have no where to go,” said low-income Lynn resident Marilyn Cox.

Cox joined nearly two dozen others at city hall Tuesday to call on the Zoning Board of Appeals to hit the brakes on a petition for a parking variance by Second Street Property developers until more is done to help with affordable housing.

Second Street Property developers are approved to transform 1.7 acres of a car lot on 811 Lynnway into a seven-story apartment building with more than 200 units near the southeast Lynn waterfront.

The problem, argues Cox, is that it won’t include any affordable housing.

“They’re developing all these new buildings out here and they’re not offering at least 25% for affordable housing for low-income people like me,” she said.

While the project won’t make room for affordable units in their plans, it did commit $3 million to an affordable housing fund -- the first time a developer has made a monetary contribution to the Lynn fund.

“Even with this agreement, which we appreciate, the development is still going to be largely segregated, not inclusive of working class and lower income people of Lynn, largely not including Lynn’s diverse communities of color,” complained Isaac Hodes, community organizer for Lynn United for Change.

Hodes argued the move falls short of addressing class segregation and the displacement of lower income residents who cannot afford to live in luxury housing.

“We’ve seen one development after another in the downtown, in the waterfront, just be exclusive luxury apartments with nothing for the people who have built the city up and make the city what it is,” he said.

The Second Street developers hope to break ground sometime in the fall of next year. They declined to comment or provide a statement to NBC10 Boston.

Moving forward, advocates hope the city can require future housing developers to create affordable units or at the least contribute to the affordable housing fund.

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