Senior housing project aims at affordability

JULIE HUSS/Staff photoThe new elder housing project at 30 Sanborn Road in Londonderry, known as Sanborn Crossing, will bring affordable housing options to the community. A ground-breaking ceremony was held Dec. 7.

LONDONDERRY — A housing project off Sanborn Road is being heralded as an affordable way for area seniors to live and remain in the community.

Ground was officially broken Dec. 7 for Sanborn Crossing, a plan that will bring an affordable, 102-unit, two-building project to 12 acres at 30 Sanborn Road.

There will be 62 one-bedroom units and 40 with two bedrooms, affordable to senior households under 60 percent of the area median income.

Developer Steven Lewis had come before town boards for several years prior to bringing the project to town. He was joined at the ground breaking by local and state officials, development partners, Gov. Chris Sununu, and other supporters including officials representing New Hampshire Housing Authority and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Once used as a junkyard from the 1950s through the 1980s, the Sanborn Road property is classified as a brownfield site, where past industrial or other uses may have caused potential contamination issues.

The property has been remediated by the town and the state encourages development of this type of property through various programs. The senior housing plan has been vetted extensively through different layers from the federal government and state departments.

Sanborn Crossing will also utilize green building technology and low-impact development methods, as well as cutting-edge storm water management. The plan also includes landscaping using native plants, walking trails, rain gardens, and bio-retention for groundwater recharging.

The plan has history in town and is a welcome opportunity for elder residents needing affordable housing while offering a successful community/development partnership as part of the process.

Town Manager Kevin Smith said there was a need for affordable senior housing in Londonderry, and that it’s tough to find a developer who would bring such a project to fruition, due to the arduous process of obtaining necessary tax credits.

Smith credited Lewis and his team for all their hard work and commitment to bring Sanborn Crossing to Londonderry.

"This is a testament to the risks Steven Lewis and his team took," Smith said. "It will be a win for seniors in town."

Londonderry Senior Affairs Director Catherine Blash said the project is much needed for seniors.

"I'm excited," Blash said. "Five-plus years ago we realized how many seniors needed affordable housing."

Blash said thanks to Smith and Lewis' hard work, the ball got rolling.

Sununu said Sanborn Crossing is a great project for Londonderry.

"It's driving the economy here, creating opportunities for people to live, it keeps this going," he said. "The economy (in New Hampshire) is cooking."

Sununu added that Londonderry is a model for other communities to follow by implementing successful community/business partnerships like the one that brought Sanborn Crossing to town.

For Lewis, the project wasn't an easy one, but he credited Londonderry and everyone involved for the support that made Sanborn Crossing happen.

"I appreciate the efforts to push us through," he said.

Lewis has done similar projects throughout New Hampshire including Braemoor Woods in Salem.

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