Affordable senior housing project breaks ground in Brookline

Published September 21st, 2019 by Baschteam

Brookline’s affordable housing stock will soon add an additional 62 units for older adults, located in the heart of Coolidge Corner and with a special connection to the synagogue next door.

While construction is already underway, the Harold and Ronald Brown Family House held its official groundbreaking Friday, with remarks from local leaders and U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III.

Located at 370 Harvard St., the new development will be linked to the adjacent Congregation Kehillath Israel, both physically and through programming. The building, which will be fossil fuel-free, will also feature commercial space and a public pocket park.

The project is named for Brookline resident and The Hamilton Company mogul Harold Brown, who passed away this year at age 94, and his brother Ronald, a lifelong Brookline resident and founder of R Brown Partners.

The Brown Family House will not only help and assist people as they age, but also address issues of isolation and loneliness among the community’s oldest residents, Ronald Brown said Friday.

“This state-of-the-art building is going to be more than bricks and mortar,” he said.

2Life Communities, the nonprofit helming the development, “caters to more than the needs of these people, because it doesn’t treat them as a class, but really treats them as individuals and caters to their individual needs,” he added.

The project is a big step in making Brookline a more affordable place to live, said Select Board Chair Bernard Greene.

“This 2Life community in Brookline is an important part of the town’s general efforts to provide affordable housing opportunities for all people across the income spectrum, not just the rich who can easily move into Brookline,” he said.

Affordability is a critical step in creating and maintaining an inclusive and vibrant community, he added. To that end, the project received $3 million in local support, according to Greene.

And the location is an obvious bonus for incoming residents.

“We know we have a population that is in need of safe housing that is a walk or a bus or a streetcar ride away from a pharmacy, from a grocery store, from all the things we take for granted every day but can become a little more challenging as folks aren’t as stable on their feet and aren’t necessarily able to drive,” State Rep. Tommy Vitolo said.

In his remarks, Kennedy praised “the way in which this community has come together to celebrate those that have not just enjoyed their golden years, but have actually built this community to be the place that it is.”

Kennedy told the crowd he and his wife lived nearby on Gibbs Street until they had their second child.

“I was hoping when we moved that I could be able to find a place that was closer to Zaftigs. And I finally found one, so we’ll be back in about 50 years,” he joked.

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