WEST YARMOUTH — The oldest motel in Yarmouth, which has fallen into considerable disrepair, is about to be demolished to make way for a $15 million complex of affordable apartments.
The Yarmouth Gardens Motor Lodge, built in 1930, was purchased earlier this year by Cambridge-based Commonwealth Community Developers for $800,000 from longtime owners Oreste and Sheila Volpe, who planned to retire.
The property at 497 Route 28 consists of two acres with four buildings on it.
The Volpes had given the town the first option to buy a few years ago as part of Yarmouth’s effort to redevelop old motel properties along Route 28 into affordable housing.
Residences at Yarmouth Gardens will consist of 40 apartments in two buildings, including 12 one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom and 4 three-bedroom units. The complex will also feature a community room and playground.
Of the 40 units, 30 will be rented to low-income families, with projected monthly rents at $1,087 for one-bedroom, $1,305 for two-bedroom and $1,507 for three-bedroom units.
The remaining 10 units will be rented to extremely low-income families, with projected monthly rents at $543 per month for one-bedroom, $652 for two-bedroom and $754 for three-bedroom units.
Commonwealth Community Developers was selected to take on the project in 2017. The Yarmouth Affordable Housing Trust pitched in $1.2 million to help leverage state and federal funding from a number of sources.
Now that funding sources have been lined up, a financial closing on the project is scheduled for later this month.
Work toward demolition of the buildings, including the removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials, began last week.
In a letter to the Board of Selectmen, development firm president James Perrine said demolition should start in a few weeks.
“Construction will follow in late November, starting with extensive work to prepare the site — pending receipt of the necessary demolition and building permits from the town,” Perrine wrote.
Construction is expected to take about 13 months, and units should be available in late 2021. All applicants must meet certain income standards and will be selected for the units via lottery.
“We’ll be handing out lottery applications six months before (the project’s completion),” said Mary Waygan, Yarmouth’s affordable housing coordinator.
Units will carry a restriction making them affordable in perpetuity.
The project will differ in appearance from Yarmouth Commons, a 69-unit affordable housing complex that replaced the old Cavalier Motel under an earlier town initiative. That project has a great deal of frontage on Route 28.
The Yarmouth Gardens lot is thin and deep, with little frontage, making design a bit of a challenge.
“The architect wanted to give it the look of a single family (home) from the road,” Waygan said.
The plan calls for the use of several colors and varied rooflines “with plenty of beautiful landscaping to go with the name.”
“Plantings in beautiful colors will be used to soften the look,” Waygan said. “It’s going to be more of a garden.”
The addition of 40 units will help boost the town’s affordable housing stock above 5%. The state looks for towns to have 10% of their housing stock at affordable prices.
Follow Christine Legere on Twitter: @ChrisLegereCCT.