Tavernier Place Opens its Doors

June 28, 2023

On Monday, June 12, local and state affordable housing advocates and developers gathered at Tavernier Place at 446 Massachusetts Ave. in Acton, across from RJ Grey Jr. High, for a ribbon-cutting for the new building of 31 rental units for seniors and people with disabilities. The development is named for Nancy Tavernier, twenty-year chair of the Acton Community Housing Corporation (ACHC).

Project developer Steve Joncas of Common Ground Development Corporation introduced a lineup of speakers including legislators and leaders and funders of Affordable Housing.

State Senator Jamie Eldridge spoke of paying tribute to the dignity of residents of affordable housing; and of the importance of advertising new housing opportunities. Eldridge remembered housing champion Bob Whittlesey, late chair of the Acton Housing Authority who was one of the fiduciaries of the Boston Housing Authority in the 1970’s and who founded several national and statewide housing organizations. Eldridge expressed excitement about an (unnamed) Acton resident who took care of other people’s children for many years and gave so much to her community, who is moving into Tavernier Place. State Representatives Dan Sena and Simon Cataldo, and a representative from US Representative Lori Trahan’s office, also spoke and presented citations.

Joncas appreciated Massachusetts Housing Partnership as true to its name of “partner” in financing. Nancy McCafferty, Director of Business Development at Massachusetts Housing Partnership, described the generosity and collaboration amongst funders, including RBC Community Investments whose Director Stephen Lee also spoke. Tavernier Place was developed by Common Ground Development Corporation, the development subsidiary of Community Teamwork Inc., a Lowell-based social service nonprofit. Much of the $15 million in financing came through low-income housing tax credits and other state funds awarded through the former Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), now renamed the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), the agency charged with creating more homes in Massachusetts and lowering housing costs for residents.

Select Board chair Jim Snyder-Grant said the Board was a “backstop,” whose role was to say “yes” as much as possible, and he looks forward to this wonderful addition to affordable housing in Acton being fully occupied within a few months.

Nine-year Select Board member Janet Adachi, who replaced Nancy Tavernier as chair of the ACHC, said that Nancy will visit the building next month. Adachi appreciated the patience, vision and tenacity of Common Ground in its work preserving the Towne high school building for 15 affordable apartments, and now building Tavernier Place. She said that ACHC has provided about half a million dollars in small grants toward the project, not easy for a small Town entity. Adachi read off an “academy award” thank you list which included developer and philanthropist Steve Steinberg, Town Manager John Mangiaratti, many Select Board members along the way, present and past Planning Directors, and the Housing for All community organization.

Attendees representing board members from Acton Housing Authority, Acton TV, Acton Memorial Library, the Human Services Committee, Miracle Field, Housing and Climate Justice for Acton, Housing for All, Commission on Disability, Transportation Advisory Committee, and others, enjoyed refreshments and tours. They visited sample units, friends’ moving box-filled apartments, and a comfortable community room. They admired the “luxury vinyl” flooring that felt softer underfoot–and rougher and less slippery–than standard vinyl flooring. The units have ample kitchen area, living room, bedroom, and spacious, accessible bathrooms with walk-in showers.

Asked about turning radius for public transportation vehicles, the architect and construction company said that the parking lot allows a fire truck to turn around, so the van should have no trouble.

Leaders on the project cut the ribbon (twice) to make sure all dignitaries were included.


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