State Says No To Tax Credits For Coady Project In Bourne

The mixed-use complex proposed for the former Kempton J. Coady School in Bourne Village would include some market-rate and some affordable housing units.
DIANA T. BARTH/ENTERPRISE FILE PHOTOGRAPH - The mixed-use complex proposed for the former Kempton J. Coady School in Bourne Village would include some market-rate and some affordable housing units.

A decision by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Community Development has left plans to renovate the former Kempton J. Coady School building in jeopardy.

For the second time, the agency has denied tax credits sought by the developers of the project, the Stratford Capital Group of Peabody.

Town administrator Thomas M. Guerino said he was told of the state’s rejection by the office of Senate President Therese Murray. Mr. Guerino said that he has since written a letter to the Executive Office of Housing and Community Development telling them that their decision has put the project in peril.

In February 2013, the Bourne Zoning Board of Appeals approved a comprehensive permit to the Coady School Residences Limited Partnership, allowing it to renovate and construct an addition to the now-closed school at 85 Cotuit Road in Bourne Village.

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The mixed-use complex would include some market-rate and some affordable housing units. All of the units were to be made available for residents 55 years and older.

In an e-mail to the Bourne Board of Selectmen, Mr. Guerino listed five alternatives for disposition of the Coady School property. He suggested extending the purchase and sale agreement with the Stratford Group and inviting the group to attend a selectmen’s meeting to discuss possible development plans, minus the tax credits.

He said the town could also re-advertise the “request for a proposal” to determine if there are other parties interested in developing the property. A discussion could also be started with the Bourne Housing Partnership or the Bourne Housing Authority to determine their interest, he said. The building could be demolished and the property used for some municipal use such as recreational fields or a park, or it could be rehabbed and become the new home for the Bourne Police Department, an expanded archives building or a recreational center.

Mr. Guerino said that since being informed of the state’s decision, he has placed two calls to Stratford. So far, he has not had a return call, he said.

Richard A. Hayden, an executive vice president with Stratford, has represented the group in front of various town boards. Calls to Mr. Hayden for comment on the state’s latest rejection went unreturned by deadline.

Selectmen chairman Peter J. Meier said he was told by Bourne Zoning Board of Appeals chairman Lee M. Berger that with the Office of Housing and Community Development typically applicants often get turned down twice before finally winning approval. Mr. Meier said Mr. Berger was told by Paul L. Ruchinskas at the Cape Cod Commission that the project will likely be approved next year. Mr. Ruchinskas also said that by next year, a similar project currently under construction further down Cape will have been completed, freeing up tax credits potentially for the Coady School project.

Mr. Meier said that the Coady School will be on the agenda for the selectmen’s meeting on July 22, but it will be only informational.

“My suggestion will be we don’t panic right now. We’ve waited this long. One more year won’t hurt us,” he said.

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