Mayor Fuller released this statement today…
This morning I sent a request to the City Council to authorize the purchase of the West Newton Armory Building and land at 1135 Washington Street just outside West Newton Square.
The City of Newton is being presented with an opportunity both to obtain a special historic building and to increase the supply of vital affordable housing for the price of $1.00. The Commonwealth is willing to sell the building to the City for $1.00 only if it is used for affordable housing in perpetuity, a use in which I believe deeply, and which also allows the City to control what happens to this important building.
The need for more affordable housing throughout Newton continues to persist. Some have thoughtfully asked how it came to be that the City of Newton could obtain the Armory for $1.00, but only for one hundred percent permanently affordable housing. Through our discussion with the Commonwealth’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) representatives, we learned that there were two scenarios under which the City could take control of the Armory; however, only the scenario of one hundred percent affordable housing presented the option for the City to purchase the property for $1.00.
The other scenario would allow the City to acquire the Armory for a municipal/direct public use at a price that reflected the type of use. DCAMM has sold properties in other municipalities under this scenario at 25 percent of full and fair market value. Based on the current $4.3 million assessed value of the Armory (likely less than appraised value), Newton would pay approximately $1 million to purchase the property.
Another scenario results if the City declines the opportunity to purchase the Armory; DCAMM would then sell the property on the open market to the highest bidder.
My vision for the West Newton Armory is that the City purchase it and retain ownership (as required by the state). Then we would lease it to an affordable housing development partner who will redevelop and manage the property as 100 percent affordable housing.
I am very excited about this opportunity to add much-needed affordable housing, especially in such a unique and well-located building. I look forward to the next few years of collaboration with the honorable City Council and our residents as we work together to bring the West Newton Armory back to life.
Read my letter to the City Council with more information about the Armory HEREunder Other Communications.