Real Estate Development

For a community to be sustainable, there must be housing options available to people of all income levels. In order to keep Somerville economically diverse, Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) builds affordable rental housing, creates homeownership opportunities, and develops retail spaces. SCC owns 116 affordable rental units in 6 sites throughout Somerville and has built numerous affordable condominiums as well.

What is affordable housing?
SCC strives to provide quality and healthy housing options for people of low- and moderate-income. We use traditional bank financing, government subsidies, and grants to sell or rent units for less than it costs to build them. SCC creates housing for:

  • Families earning anywhere from less than 30% to 110% of the Area Median Income
  • Homeless families and individuals
  • Clients of the Department of Mental Health

Why do we need affordable housing?
The lack of affordable housing is a widely acknowledged problem in Somerville. Despite the recent downturn in the housing market, housing costs in Somerville remain high and out of the reach of many people – newcomers and long term residents alike. Without affordable options, these families are forced to leave Somerville and with that loss, the City becomes less vibrant and diverse.


SCC's Projects in Development

SCC is proud of its continued commitment to creating affordable and sustainable housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families in Somerville. Through thoughtful planning, SCC strives to develop housing that incorporates green principles from design through construction and operations. SCC will continue to build on its experience in this area to create livable and sustainable developments for years to come.

Saint Polycarp Village

The 3.5-acre Saint Polycarp Village site was formerly owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and used by the St. Polycarp Parish until 2002. SCC purchased the land in March 2006 to revitalize a neglected and underutilized parcel of land at a key entrance point into Somerville. The project converts this area into a vibrant community with commercial space, affordable apartments, a church, a transitional home for single mothers and their children, a GED program and open space.

The Saint Polycarp Village Apartments is the first of three phases of new construction on the site. This project completed construction in June 2009 and includes 24 affordable apartment units and 6,200 square feet of retail space. There are a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units. All units will be affordable to families earning less than 60% of the Area Median Income, including 4 units reserved for clients of the Department of Mental Health and 2 units for homeless individuals. The building hopes to be certified as a LEED Silver green project. Green features include a green roof and ultimately solar PV (electric) and solar thermal (hot water) panels.

SCC is currently planning for the two additional phases. Plans include the construction of an additional 60 affordable rental units, a community room, open space and a playground on the site.

For more information about Saint Polycarp Village please visit this page.


SCC's Rental Properties

109 Gilman Street
When 109 Gilman Street went on the market in 2005, the rents were affordable but the building was at risk of being converted to more expensive rental or condo units. SCC purchased 109 Gilman Street in June 2005, with the intention of keeping rents for the 6 three-bedroom units affordable as well as improving the condition of the building. A 50-year affordability restriction has been put in place to ensure that the units remain affordable to families at a range of incomes. Two of the units are reserved for formerly homeless households as part of collaboration with the Somerville Homeless Coalition.

Walnut Street Apartments
In 2002, the affordability restriction on 110 Walnut Street was about to expire and the 12 units were at risk of being converted to market rents. SCC purchased and renovated the building and kept the units affordable through vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's project-based Section 8 program. By February 2004, existing tenants were able to stay in their newly renovated units and retain an affordable home.

Linden Street Apartments
Completed in December 2002, Linden Street consists of the new construction of 42 affordable rental housing units with a mix of 1- to 3-bedroom units. Located off Somerville Avenue in Union Square, the development has 7 buildings, on-site parking, a large, centralized play area, and green space. It won an award for its use of green (or environmentally friendly) components.

Sewall Place
Sewall Place is a 14-unit, single-room occupancy development in the Winter Hill neighborhood. Formerly the Boys and Girls Club, the building has 13 housing units for formerly homeless individuals and one market-rate unit. Residents have private bedrooms and bathrooms and share a living room, dining room and kitchen. The Somerville Homeless Coalition provides supportive services for the residents.

33 Bow Street
Located in Union Square on historic Bow Street, this development was completed in 1997. It consists of 18 rental units, including two-, three- and four- bedroom apartments; 16 of the units are affordable and two are market rate.

SCC's Recent Homeownership Development for First-Time Buyers

SCC has produced over 100 units of affordable homeownership, beginning its development activities by purchasing dilapidated 1-3 family homes, rehabbing them, and reselling them to moderate and low -income buyers. More recently, SCC has developed two condominium projects.

Temple Street Condominiums

In 2003, the St. Polycarp Church sold the property at 65 Temple Street to SCC to develop affordable housing. This condominium complex, a mix of two- and three-bedroom condos, provides an affordable option for moderate-income families looking to purchase their first homes. Fourteen of the Temple Street households were composed of Somerville residents who were able to stay in the City, thanks in part to this affordable opportunity. As a result of a multi-language marketing campaign, the homeowners at Temple Street are an extremely diverse group speaking six primary languages, representing seven ethnicities, and ranging from two to 70 years old. Eight of the units were sold in 2007 to households earning less than 80% of Somerville’s Area Median Income (AMI) and seven of the units were sold to households earning 80-110% of AMI.

Wheatland St. Condominiums

SCC acquired two parcels of land at 88 Wheatland Street in 1997 to transform what was an abandoned piano-parts factory into eight studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom condo units. The condominiums were sold in 2001 to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers through a lottery process. Priority was given to existing Somerville residents and minority families. The project continues to operate as an affordable condominium, with affordability preserved for future owners.