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Protesters advocate for affordable housing on the Lynnway

A group of protesters staged a sit-in at the former Beacon Chevrolet site on the Lynnway where construction is set to begin next year on a luxury apartment community. From left, Isaac Simon Hodes, Sovathy Eam, James Grayson, and Sunny Chow. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN Protesters have camped out at the site of a luxury waterfront development on the Lynnway demanding affordable units be built as part of the $80 million project.

“There’s a housing affordability crisis in Lynn,” said Isaac Simon Hodes, a member of Lynn United for Change, an advocacy group. “We are hearing more and more people can’t find a decent, affordable place to live while longtime residents are getting pushed out of the city as rents skyrocket.”

Eric Loth, managing director of Minco Development, the North Andover developer of the project, who was unaware of the campout until contacted by The Item, said he met with the protesters last year, but was unable to reach an agreement.

“We agree there’s a housing crisis in Lynn,” he said. “But we disagree on how to solve it. Any supply helps the demand. It’s so hard to produce housing given that land and labor prices are so high.”

The protest, about a dozen strong, started Monday night and was expected to end Tuesday evening.

Construction is expected to start next spring on the 14-acre site that was once the home for Beacon Chevrolet. The project is expected to include 348 apartments in two buildings with rents in the $2,000 range.

James Cowdell, executive director of the Lynn Economic Development & Industrial Corp., the city’s development bank, has said the city has done its share for affordable housing and needs to focus on building market rate units to attract people with disposable income who will spend money in the city.

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