21 Pine – Serving Cape Cod’s Critical Housing NeedsAdd to My Luxx Living
Is it a bright model to serving Cape Cod’s critical housing needs?
Tamara Lawrence is a single mom with a nine-year-old daughter. As a dental hygienist, she is the sole provider for her family. On her salary, she never imagined she would one day own her own home.
Robert and Mary Moll, longtime Falmouth residents, recently retired and wanted to downsize. But how could they remain in the town they love and near their best friends? The last thing they wanted was to move to an adults-only retirement community.
The answer for both Tamara and the Molls could be found at 21 Pine in East Falmouth.
What once was a nursing home since abandoned has become a model housing solution for two of the Cape’s most significant populations – our young workforce and the rising tide of active retirees.
21 Pine is a 40b development. The term most associated with “40b” is affordable housing. Unfortunately, the word “affordable” has created a stigma across Massachusetts, even instigating NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard – movements to fight the developments.
On the Cape however, the better term for a development like 21 Pine is “workforce and retirement” housing.
Aesthetically, 21 Pine fits perfectly into the East Falmouth neighborhood, and is proving a major upgrade from an old and unused institutional building.
The four units, each with two three-story townhouses, are built to attract market prices. The Molls paid nearly half a million dollars for their new home.
But, under 40b, two of the eight units had to be priced for someone like Tamara – who earns a modest salary – to qualify. She pays less than $200,000 for her unit, which has the same footprint, but fewer amenities.
“It has always been my dream to own my own home,” says Tamara. “This project has made it possible for me to purchase a brand new home at an affordable price. If this project was not brought to my attention I would be renting right now. The rent on Cape Cod is extremely high for what you get. My daughter is getting older, and I feel that she needs a place to call her own.”
The Molls are delighted.
“Tamara is a beautiful neighbor, and it is so wonderful to have children living next to us. We did not want to live in an isolated 55-plus community – not after a lifetime of living in a diversified neighborhood,” said Bob Moll.
The Cape faces two huge economic challenges:
- The gap between working incomes and home prices is significantly higher than across most of Massachusetts, forcing many young families and individuals to leave the Cape.
- A rising tide of empty nesters whose homes now are too big and expensive to manage; yet, who wish to remain in the community, contributing time and money to their local governments, nonprofits and businesses.
21 Pine also demonstrates how eight new homes can be built on little more than one acre, addressing two other critical priorities for Cape Cod – land and energy conservation.
Can 21 Pine be a model for other developments across Cape Cod – with its modest dimensions; meticulous attention to neighborhood aesthetics; and community members who contribute to the local workforce and economy?
Would the Molls want to stay in Falmouth as they age if they did not have the healthcare providers like Tamara – or shop clerks, waitresses, hair dressers, police officers, firefighters, landscapers and contractors – to help meet their day-to-day needs?
At Home on Cape Cod talked with Tamara, the Molls and 21 Pine’s developer, Joseph Valle, to learn more.
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