LYNN — The $11 million redevelopment and rehabilitation of St. Stephen’s Tower, an affordable senior living community, was celebrated on Monday in a roomful of residents and included a tour of the facility by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Mayor Thomas M. McGee.
Renovations to the building, the first major rehab since it was built in the 1970s, were completed two years ago, but the event marked the first time the owners and managers of the property, Beacon Communities, got to show them off.
Beacon owns the property in partnership with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, but the former provides services for residents.
The rehabilitation of the 130-apartment building, which took more than a year, included a new wellness center, computer learning center, community rooms, a laundry room, and upgraded and handicap accessible units, according to Gina Martinez, development director for Beacon Communities.
“We’re here today to celebrate the redevelopment and preservation of St. Stephen’s Tower, which is a critical housing resource for the city of Lynn,” said Pam Goodman, CEO of Beacon Communities.
She said a major project goal was to come up with the financial restructuring to do the necessary rehabilitation and maintain the affordability of St. Stephen’s.
The project was funded through a variety of agencies, including MassHousing, the Department of Housing and Community Development, Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development and Cambridge Housing Authority, according to Martinez.
Moulton said St. Stephen’s Tower is an example for not only Lynn, but the rest of the country, in how affordable housing should be done right.
“Wherever you are right now, housing is a major issue,” Moulton said. “And right now in Lynn, we’re leaders in fixing it.”
McGee said the challenge of making sure there’s affordable, safe and quality housing for people is not only a Lynn issue, but a regional and national one.
“This is your home,” McGee told the residents. “This is a place you enjoy being every day and it’s a place you want to say I’m proud to live there, and with the kind of investment that’s been made here, that’s making that a reality.”
In addition to renovations, the project, which has recently been recognized with awards from the National Affordable Housing Management Association and the Rental Housing Association, also addressed water infiltration problems and upgraded the building’s heating system, according to Goodman.
Billie Landry, a nine-year resident, said she liked the renovations but joked that she was not a fan of the orange chairs.