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Home Stretch: Work on Shillman House Nearly Completed

Posted: January 24, 2011

Great coverage in today's Metrowest Daily News about Shillman House (and a video too!)

 

The granite countertops, wall-to-wall carpeting and maple cabinets are installed in each apartment. Downstairs, the dining hall, fitness studio and fireside bistro are taking shape.

After 14 months of construction, a massive senior housing complex on Edmands Road that neighbors unsuccessfully fought to stop is nearly complete.

Planning for a June opening, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly is set to start filling the 150 apartments at the Shillman House, a $42 million four-story independent living complex.

Brighton-based JCHE early next month will start locking in tenants for the 60 market-rate apartments.

The 90 remaining affordable units will be filled by a lottery on Feb. 28. Applications for those deed-restricted units are due Feb. 10, and preference will be given to people who live or work in Framingham.

"It's very exciting to think that everybody has an equal shot at one of these beautiful apartments," Susan Goodman, JCHE's director of communications, said on a tour of the complex Thursday.

JCHE plans to open a marketing office Feb. 1 in the center of Nobscot at 861 Edgell Road, next to the Honeydew Donuts.

"This is the chance," said Amy Schectman, the nonprofit's president and CEO. She said the apartments are in high demand and after they are filled, the waiting list may be 6 to 8 years.

The project was approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals under the state's Chapter 40B law, which allows developers to skirt local zoning rules if they price a portion of the units affordably.

Concerned about the project's size and its impact on the neighborhood, opponents mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to stop the project.

Built by general contractor Dellbrook Construction of Braintree at 49 Edmands Road, the project is about 85 percent done and on schedule.

"A lot of thought" went into design of the one- and two-bedroom apartments, Goodman said.

There are showers - many wheelchair accessible - as well as a linen closet and other storage, a Lazy Susan corner cabinet in the kitchen, and extra countertop lighting to accommodate failing eyesight.

On the main level of the 151,000 square foot H-shaped building, amenities include a library, computer room and fitness center with a ballet bar, mirror and exercise equipment. She said fitness is important, and seniors can be coached to improve their strength and balance.

Residents will also have art and dining rooms, a bistro, sitting area and gas fireplace at the building's secure entrance and 24/7 on-site management.

Residents will staff and have a convenience store that carries sundries.

Schectman said the 10,000 square feet of community space is huge.

"That's what really makes this different," she said. "It's so important."

Residents will have the choice to get out and socialize or enjoy the privacy of their apartments.

"That's what we're so proud of," Schectman said. "You have the best of both. You can be part of the action - and there'll be tons of action."

Geothermal wells on the property will heat and cool the Shillman House, with individual controls in each apartment.

Other examples of eco-friendly construction: Energy-star appliances are scheduled to be installed in the units this week and photovoltaic solar panels on the roof will power common area lighting.

The apartments range from costing a third of a tenant's income (for a portion of the affordable units) to $3,000 a month for market-rate units.

At least one person in each apartment must be 62 or older. Tenants need not be Jewish.

Visit the Shillman House website, www.jche.org/Shillman-House for more information, rental applications, a project blog, floor plans and photos.

(Danielle Ameden can be reached at 508-626-4416 or dameden@cnc.com.)

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