MADISON — The 1808 home of Henry Josiah Meigs at 131 Cottage Road is slated to become part of Wellington at Madison, a 31-unit housing complex with 24 affordable and 7 market rate units situated on 2.6 acres.
The project is a collaboration between HOPE Partnership, a Connecticut nonprofit that develops affordable housing, and the Caleb Group, a nonprofit that has created affordable housing communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
“The way it’s designed is smaller buildings that really actually do give you that community and village kind of feel to it. It isn’t a five-story building. It does lend itself nicely to the community,” said Liz Torres, a consultant on the project, at the announcement of the project at the Meigs house on Monday.
A white four-unit building, which is fully rented, sits toward the middle of the long, angular property that fronts Cottage Road and will join the Meigs house as part of the project.
Meigs house will hold four apartment units. The exterior of the building will be preserved as well the fireplaces and some of the original interior wood details.
Four townhouse-style buildings holding 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units will be constructed, totalling 23 units.
Across the complex, 20 of the 31 units will be set aside for people earning 50 percent or less of the area median income, which is $108,000 in Madison. Seven units will be set aside for people earning 25 percent of the area median income, or approximately $27,000. Seven units will be set aside as market rate rentals.
The affordable units will start at $424 per month and the market rate units will top out at $2,400 per month.
Currently, 1.69 percent of Madison’s housing stock qualifies as affordable under the state’s 8-30g affordable housing statute. This project will increase that total by about 0.2 percent.
Torres estimated the project will cost close to $13 million. She said they have applied for a variety of funding sources including a 9 percent Low Income Tax Credit of $5.67 million, $3.7 million from the Department of Housing, a deferred developer fee of $660,000, and a mortgage from Guilford Savings Bank.
“It is very, very expensive to build these types of projects and the total development cost is almost $13 million. All in, that’s inclusive of the cost to buy the property, the cost to build the property, and people often forget about the soft costs associated with these types of developments, including architectural and engineering, environmental — all of those things are included as part of the budget,” she said.
The property was originally developed by Robert Dowler, who received zoning approval to build condominiums and later changed his plan to rental units, which were also approved. He later sold the project to Hope Partnership and the Caleb Group.
HOPE Partnership President Dave Carswell estimated the project will break ground in 2022. The organization was established in 2003 and opened Ferry Crossing in Old Saybrook with 16 townhouse units in 2011. The Lofts at Spencer’s Corner, a 17-unit, $5.1 million affordable housing project in Centerbrook, will be ready for occupancy in mid-March. Wellington at Madison is HOPE’s third project.
In November, the developer asked the town for a tax abatement, which the Board of Selectmen did not approve. However, at the announcement on Monday, Peggy Lyons, first selectman of Madison, said the board was supportive of the project and wanted to issue a tax abatement.
“I think this is a wonderful showcase for this, just to show what it can be because I think some people just have different perceptions of what this is all about and I think this is going to be a great example,” said Lyons.
Photo courtesy of Hope Partnership — Liz Torres, consultant to HOPE Partnership and the Caleb Group, shows plans for Wellington at Madison to State Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford, State Rep. John-Michael Parker, D-Madison, and Peggy Lyons, first selectman of Madison.