BEVERLY — Residents of Beverly curious to know more about the future of the former Briscoe Middle School building will be able to log onto a new website to learn more about the project, its timeline and to request leasing information.

Back in November, it was announced that the building would be sold to Harborlight Community Partners and Beacon Communities, who would redevelop it into affordable senior housing with a few artist live/work spaces.

“Senior affordable housing is near and dear to our heart to our missional center,” said Andrew DeFranza, executive director of Harborlight Community Partners. “So we're excited to say that this building is almost entirely senior affordable housing about 85 apartments worth.”

DeFranza said he understands just how much the old school building means to the community of Beverly and its residents.

“My oldest daughter was in the last sixth grade class at Briscoe, and there’s a long, long list of people who are attached to the building,” he said. “We're really honored and grateful to have the opportunity to be the stewards of the building into its next century of service to the community.”

What’s in the works

According to the website, Briscoe Village for Living & the Arts (BVLA) will be a “state-of-the-art, locally focused, environmentally respectful, and historically sensitive new community that extends the Briscoe School’s service to the community for decades to come.”

The goal of the project is to create a unique mixed-use, intergenerational community that provides much needed independent living senior affordable housing and integrated wellness services, while supporting community arts and providing public gathering spaces. There will be approximately 85 studio and one-bedroom apartments for seniors 55 and over and six live/work studios (with preference to artists), which will be intergenerational and not age-restricted.

What's there now

The historic and beloved Briscoe building (and its auditorium) have long served the community as both a high school and middle school. The stately building awaits its next chapter, slated to be in service to seniors in need of affordable apartments and artists in need of live/work studios; the auditorium will also be preserved for programming run by North Shore Music Theatre.

What's happening next

Project partners Harborlight Community Partners and Beacon Communities are in the process of advancing preliminary design work. The two organizations will work in collaboration with the City of Beverly to begin the permitting process in spring 2020. Then requests for state and local funding will commence. It is expected that ground will be broken on the BVLA in either late 2023 or late 2024, depending on when state funding is approved. The City of Beverly, during the permitting, funding or CPA application process, is expected to ask that preference be given to Beverly residents.

To learn more about the project and information about the project as it progresses. www.courb.co/bvla.

 

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