Beverly’s Briscoe Middle School to become affordable senior apartments

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By Wicked Local, Beverly

BEVERLY — The former Briscoe Middle School will soon serve as a housing option for many seniors in Beverly who are looking to downsize, yet stay in the community they love.

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill announced the city awarded the sale of the former school to Harborlight Community Partners and Beacon Communities in order to create Briscoe Village.

The two organizations submitted a joint proposal for a mixed-use re-development incorporating senior housing, integrated wellness services and spaces for community arts, as well as gathering places open to the public.

The proposal calls for 85 affordable apartments for seniors, 8,000 square feet of artist work studios and for the auditorium to be preserved and operated by North Shore Music Theatre.

“At BVLA (Briscoe Village for Living and the Arts), senior residents will live in beautiful apartments and be able to see a nurse, join a fitness class or learn to use a computer all on the first floor of their building,” according to the proposal.

Outside the building, space in front of the building will be restored as a new public park with seating, a historic marker and opportunities for public art. The open field at the back of building will be maintained as open space for uses directed by the city.

The bid for the proposal was $600,000, with estimated annual tax payments to the city of around $115,000 to $150,000.

“The evaluation committee did an outstanding job boiling this RFP process down to two competitive proposals, Briscoe Village and Winn Development,” Cahill said in a statement. “Both proposals had real merit in what they would bring to the city. Ultimately, the city decided to select the Briscoe Village proposal which has a clear and tangible vision for rehabilitation of the building, particularly the auditorium, as well as plan for a robust public engagement process to provide input on design and programming for the public spaces. This, plus their overall response to the other evaluation criteria, including provision for critically needed affordable senior housing, stood as the best fit for the city and its redevelopment goals.”