Scarborough sees boom in multi-family housing

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SCARBOROUGH — The town is experiencing an increase in applications to build multi-family housing, including a mix of luxury and affordable apartments.

Town Planner Jay Chace said 474 multi-family units were approved through mid-September. Among the projects are 36 apartments in Dunston Village, and an 84-unit multi-family project called Carrier Woods at 79 Mussey Road, which is being built by Risbara Properties.

Multi-family housing starts have gone up in each of the past three fiscal years, from less than 10 in 2014-15 to 44 in the 2016-17 fiscal year, which ended June 30, according to a town planning report.

Town Manager Thomas Hall announced at the Nov. 1 Town Council meeting that Devine Capital – the developer building The Residences at Gateway Commons – has applied for permits for all but two of the apartments planned on Haigis Parkway at the corner of Payne Road.

The council approved a zoning amendment on March 15, that allows Devine to build 288 luxury units on 33 acres of undeveloped land.

The project will be a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units in 12 buildings. Each would contain 24 units, with rents ranging from $1,400 to $2,200 a month.

The town will receive $700,000 from the developer in lieu of affordable housing, and Scarborough will also reap at least $2.2 million in fees.

“Things are moving quicker than originally anticipated,” Hall said.

Meanwhile, Harold Burnham II is building a 36-unit apartment building called Burnham Brookside Apartments in Dunstan Village. Burnham told the Planning Board rents will start at $895 per month.

Board member Susan Auglis said she is a big proponent of affording housing.

“We need to do something about affording housing and the fact that you are willing to do that deserves credit,” Auglis said.

Burnham said he is hoping to break ground by the end of the year and projects the apartments will be ready next summer.

He previously built Burham Village Apartments at 5 Diner Drive, which is also in Dunstan Village.

“I personally think the tenants will enjoy something clean, safe, new and affordable,” Burnham said in an interview.”There is really a need.”

He said the apartments represent real workforce housing.

Another proposed project is by Housing Initiatives of New England Corp. Developers met with the Planning Board for a site plan and subdivision review to build a second phase of Bessey Commons senior housing, which is affordable housing for baby-boomers and older residents in a former school and an added second building.

Chace said the Bessey Commons project is still in the early stages of the planning process and is likely a few months away from final approval, although he understands the company hopes to work quickly.

At its Monday, Oct. 30 meeting, the Planning Board gave approval to an eight-lot high-end subdivision of single-family homes.

The board approved the eight building lots on a nine-lot subdivision named Yellow Birch Estates at 203 Holmes Road, which is between Mitchell Hill Road and Lobos Road. Developer Matthew Chamberlain, owner of the Regency Realty Group in South Portland, said he hopes to start road construction in a few weeks.

He said the homes will be three- or four-bedrooms ranging from 2,400 to 3,200 square feet, priced between $450,000 and $600,000. The houses will have hardwood floors and stairs, tile, master suites and at least two-car garages.

Chamberlain told the board if the project is approved, he plans to start cutting trees in the next seven days and building the road before the end of the year.

Hall said Scarborough welcomes diverse housing.

“A community like our town is big enough to support all housing types,” the town manager said.

 Melanie Sochan can be reached at 781-3661 ext.106 or Follow her on Twitter @melaniesochan.

Bessie Commons, 272 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough. Developers want to add a second phase to the affordable senior housing project.