Just over a year ago the Land Trust undertook to develop the Haven Terrace Condominiums, on a steep hillside where ancient granite terraces afford dramatic views of Gloucester's working harbor, and the charm of an old world fishing village. Schools, post office, houses of worship, grocery stores, City Hall, library, downtown shops, and train station are all within walking distance.
The second challenge was to transform Gloucester's most dilapidated, drug infested, violent street into a healthy neighborhood. Today this is a quiet and friendly place. A community-wide contest to chose a new name for the street selected "Haven Terrace" to reflect the new peace which prevails here.
The density has been greatly reduced -- one building was demolished to make room for off street parking, small units were combined to make larger ones, and the Land Trust hopes to acquire an adjacent lot for additional green space and a playground. Sanitary and earth friendly trash removal, recycling, and composting systems have been established. A common room is included for community meals,meetings, shared child care or other community purposes. Each household member volunteers 40 hours of sweat equity. Everyone who lives here will be a home owner and tax payer, invested in the common health and peace.
All of the buildings have new wood clapboard exteriors in the New England tradition, and the homes have the energy efficiency and convenience of modern construction -- thermopane tilt windows, high grade insulation, dishwashers, gas fired forced hot water baseboard heat, laundries, and gas stoves.
Prices range from $39,900 for a one bedroom unit to $69,900 for a four bedroom unit, in a city where the median sale price is $150,000 and rising. Total housing costs, including mortgage, insurance, estimated taxes, and condo fees are less than Gloucester's high rents, and the homes are designed to stay affordable forever, through resale price restrictions defined in the ground lease.
Our pride is in the fact that the Haven Terrace Condominiums make it possible for local working people -- who could not afford any other house in our community -- to achieve the American dream of home ownership. The income eligibility window includes a large percentage of Cape Ann families. For example, a four person family buying a 3 bedroom unit with a 3% down payment needs to earn a minimum $24,000 and would be eligible with an income up to a maximum of $45,300.
Saturday morning work days for residents and other volunteers will begin in April to landscape, and to paint fences and decks. Landscape Designer Kate Wiggin will be supervising the gardening and owner Denise Frame Harlan will be sharing square-foot vegetable growing methods. Already volunteers have laid flagstone footpaths. Dozens of local gardeners have offered to donate perennials divided from their own gardens, and the ground has been prepared for a friendship garden. Both garden and houses will flourish because they are watered by the good will of the whole community.
This project is possible because of the dedication of the entire development team, the financial and sweat equity contributions of many local religious congregations and citizens, and persistence of vision of the Land Trust founders, board, staff, volunteers and membership.
We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following partners. Without their efforts the transformation of this neighborhood would not have been possible.General Contractor The Ellis Company Architecture Tim Thurman and Stephen Livermore, Treehouse Design Financing Cape Ann Savings Bank
Gloucester Bank and Trust
Granite Savings Bank
Rockport National Bank
Warren Five Cents Savings BankGrants Massachusetts Dept. of Housing and Community Development
City of Gloucester CDBG ProgramLandscape Design Kate Wiggin