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ZBA Approves Residence Inn Conversion to 130 Rental Units

Board signs off on comprehensive permit for adaptive reuse project

The Zoning Board of Appeals last night approved a comprehensive permit that allows Sawyer Realty Holdings, which is also leading the Wood Haven 55+ project, to move forward in converting the Residence Inn extended stay hotel at 1775 Andover St. to apartments via a Local Initiative Project (LIP) — or “friendly 40B” — process. 

The 11-building complex will have 130 fully renovated apartments, 96 one-bedroom and 34 two-bedroom, with 33 units affordable at 25% of AMI (annual median income). Market rents are expected to be $1,600 to $2,100, below average for the area. There will be about 5,000 square feet of common space, including a “WeWork” type co-working area with desks and wi-fi, a self-serve laundry and outdoor green space including walking paths.

Additionally, there will be common rooms that residents can reserve for a birthday or gathering. The idea is to provide opportunities for people to get out of their individual units.

Access to the complex will remain via the existing driveway to Andover St., which is shared with the Mobil gas station. There will be 164 parking spaces, which translates to one space per bedroom. The existing pool is being removed and replaced with a 2,000 sf, two-story storage building with 55 lockers for residents needing additional space.

With the ZBA’s approval in hand, Sawyer can now pursue both financing and building permits; it obtained a project eligibility letter in February. The town will also be able to submit the project to the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities to request the units be added to Tewksbury’s subsidized housing inventory.

Town Manager Richard Montuori previously said the project could put the town over its 10% affordable requirement, but he is unable to say for sure until the census and housing stock numbers are certified. The project concept was approved unanimously by both the Select Board and Planning Board.

The Residence Inn property was constructed in 1989, and Sawyer plans to redo all units with new granite counters, paint and flooring. The affordable apartments will be indistinguishable from market-rate units. Sawyer purchased the property in 2019 for $12 million.

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

One Comment

  1. Concerned Citizen Concerned Citizen August 12, 2023

    “33 units affordable …” = not good for Tewksbury

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