MADISON — Construction crews have broken ground on the next phase of a new affordable housing development in town, called Wellington at Madison.
The buildings at 135-137 Cottage Road will consist of 27 units, 24 of which are designated for people who qualify for affordable housing. The 2.6-acre site already has four market-rate units on the property, bringing the total number of apartments to 31.
The four units, located at the east end of the property, were built while the project was being supervised by a different developer, said Marianne McDermott, director of fundraising and communications for The Caleb Group, a nonprofit that has created affordable housing communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. The project, she said, is in collaboration with HOPE Partnership, Inc., an Essex-based nonprofit that develops affordable housing.
“As an entity, they folded,” McDermott said of the previous developer. “That’s when The Caleb Group was called in to do this. We had to kind of start all over again.”
The Caleb Group took over the project in January 2020.
HOPE Partnership Executive Director Karla Lindquist told CT Examiner that there will be seven one-bedroom units available for households making up to 25 percent of the area median income, six one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom units for households making up to 50 percent, and four two-bedrooms for households making up to 60 percent.
The remaining units are designated as market-rate homes.
Part of the Wellington at Madison project involves remodeling the Henry Josiah Miegs House at 131 Cottage Road, erected in 1808. The exterior of the building was preserved, as well as the fireplaces and some of the original interior wood details.
Four units will be constructed within the house, McDermott said, with at least three of them expected to be affordable housing units.
“We’re excited to preserve the Miegs house and integrate it into this community,” she said. “… Every community in the United States needs affordable housing,” she said.
McDermott described Madison as a “high opportunity community” for affordable housing projects.
“The community was supportive of this and was supportive and welcoming and wanted to do this project,” she said. “Towns like that, it costs a lot to live in those communities. There are a lot of different scenarios. People do need affordable housing. It allows for people like older people or young families or working class families. Everyone would benefit from living in a community like Madison.”
The community will hopefully be finished in about a year’s time, she added.
For people looking to apply for the housing units, registration dates have not yet been determined.
“We try not to start a list a year in advance,” she said. “Sometimes it offers false promises. When we have a strong sense of when the property will be completed, we’ll start on applications. The property manager will be beginning a list. People express interest before the project is even completed.”
Depending on the amount of applicants, McDermott said, there may be a lottery. Once applications open, they will be available on the HOPE Partnership website and managed by Demarco Management Corporation.
“With the amount of interest I have been receiving over the past year and a quarter, we’re definitely not concerned we’ll need to advertise it,” Lindquist said.
First Selectman Peggy Lyons said Thursday that she was excited to see more affordable housing being built, adding that the town is working toward the 10 percent affordable housing goal set by the state.
“Most communities have struggled with that. In some ways it’s an unrealistic goal. It’s a challenge,” she said.
One challenge, she explained, is that it’s more cost effective to build dense housing. But there’s a lack of infrastructure in town to accommodate larger communities with affordable housing, she said, plus residents don’t want larger units.
“What’s nice about this is it’s sort of a sweet spot,” she said. “It’s able to operate with a septic system and it’s creating housing options for people.”
Though the project offers more options for Madison residents, Lyons noted there can’t be preferential treatment for locals in the application process.
“I think it’s going to be a great addition to our town,” she said. “We’re excited to see it launched.”