The South Portland Housing Authority is proposing a three-story affordable senior apartment building off of the intersection of Little Dolphin Drive and Access Road. The property would be in the Oak Hill Neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Brooks More

SCARBOROUGH — The South Portland Housing Authority is looking to build an affordable senior housing unit for Scarborough residents ages 55 and up, off of the intersection of Little Dolphin Drive and Access Road.

The Scarborough Planning Board approved a master plan of the project, which will also include an 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot office building to be located across the street from the Town & Country office building on Access Road, Brooks More, director of development for South Portland Housing Development Corporation, said.

South Portland Housing Development Corporation has a partnership with M & R Holdings, LLC, who will be in charge of the office building, More said.

The senior housing portion of the project is expected to be a three-story building and have 60 one-bedroom apartment units, he said.

“It’s going to create a nice street feel between the two office buildings, and ours will be at the back,” More said. “It has some woods there and is close to the residential neighborhood on Maple Ave.”

The site has already been cleared and will serve as a nice location for senior residents, he said.

“One thing we like already is that it’s in the Oak Hill Neighborhood,” Brooks said. “It’s near Hannaford’s and there’s public access transportation close by. It’s really convenient to the greater Portland area.”

Mike Hulsey, executive director of the South Portland Housing Authority, said that there is a high demand for affordable housing, whether for seniors or families, as rents continue to skyrocket.

“One of the missions of our board is just to help fulfill the need of housing in the Greater Portland area,” he said. “Scarborough doesn’t have a housing authority nor does Cape Elizabeth. We’re always looking for opportunities to fulfill that need for affordable housing.”

At the earliest, the project will begin construction in fall of 2021, More and Hulsey said. The developers will also go through the municipal approval process, which should be completed in July or early August of this year.

“The property is part of the downtown tax increment financing district so we can apply to the council for that,” More said. “This will allow us to apply to pay for the construction.”

More clarified that the project is for-profit and will bring in investors.

“We do put a sales tax on construction of the building,” he said. “We pay property tax to the town. Typically, senior buildings can be a net positive.”

He added, “This is housing for people who worked all their life. They’ll still be paying rent. A one-bedroom apartment could be as high as $1,200. We just wanted to keep it so people who grew up in Scarborough can stay in Scarborough. There’s definitely a need for affordable housing.”

The South Portland Housing authority was established in 1943, according to the organization’s website. The group’s mission is to “provide quality housing for low to moderate income, elderly, individuals with disabilities, and families in need.”

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