Young Street Apartments
Young Street Apartments represents the result of a collaborative process between the Town of South Berwick and Avesta Housing to turn an underutilized piece of downtown land into a community asset. Avesta is bringing new life to the site by developing apartments for people ages 55 and older. This parcel is directly adjacent to the town’s new library, the elementary school, Main Street shops, and a vibrant residential neighborhood, and is a perfect complement to those uses and future development in South Berwick’s downtown.
The three-story building is designed as a contemporary take on New England architecture and features 28 apartments. Three units will be handicap accessible, and two units will be accessible for people with visual or hearing impairments. All apartments will be adaptable to promote aging in place. Residents will benefit from a community room and outdoor patio, on-site laundry, a bike storage area, and resident service coordination. Avesta and its partners will provide services that meet the unique needs of this senior population, including health care (on-site wellness checks as well as nutrition workshops) and economic self-sufficiency (financial capability training and fraud avoidance workshops). Additionally, telehealth infrastructure will be added to improve resident health outcomes, reduce transportation costs and foster participation with health care providers.
Thanks to highly efficient design, construction and features, Young Street Apartments will be near net-zero for energy usage. Solar panels will provide 20% of the building’s energy.
Young Street Apartments will serve households making 50% and 60% of area median income, or about $23,000 to $40,000 per year depending on household size.
Developer: Avesta Housing
Architect: Lassel Architects
General contractor: Pine Brook Construction
Site work contractor: Mick Construction
Municipal partner: Town of South Berwick
Total project cost: Approximately $6 million
A need for senior housing
As Maine’s senior population continues to grow, the need for safe, affordable homes for seniors will grow as well. Maine currently ranks second in the nation for the number of people over age 65 and has the highest median age of all states. Since 2000, the number of people in Maine over age 55 has grown by 52,000 (a 25% increase).
The population growth in the South Berwick area mirrors this trend. While the overall population of the South Berwick/York area is expected to grow by only 0.7% between 2010 and 2018, the population of people ages 55+ is expected to rise more than 12%, reaching more than 15,500.
In addition, housing affordability is a challenge for many Maine seniors. Of the 86,000 low-income households in Maine paying more than 50% of their income toward housing, close to 40% (34,000) are over age 55. Waitlists for affordable housing in the South Berwick area range from one to four years long, while the waitlist for housing vouchers has been closed for more than five years. Young Street Apartments helps address this problem by providing affordable homes for seniors.