Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

HAC's Melpet Farm Recognized with National Award

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Mar 07, 2017 @ 10:02 AM

Melpet Farm-2.jpg

A little more than a year after the Melpet Farm Residences was completed, the HAC project is in the national spotlight for its quality design and construction. In January, the development received a Silver Award from the National Association of Home Builders Best in American Living Awards program in the category of affordable, multi-family.

Consisting of 27 affordable apartments on 6.4-acres of land adjacent to Melpet Farm on Route 134 in Dennis, the development was a joint collaboration between HAC, the Preservation Of Affordable Housing (POAH), Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber Architects, Delphi Construction, Horsley Witten Group and the Town of Dennis.

“We believe the overall team commitment to the design and implementation of high-performing building techniques to assist residents with control of their utility costs played a key role in the success of this project,” said Christine Howard, the director of business development for Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber Architects. Melpet Farm was designed to be a net zero project, meaning it produces as much energy as it uses thanks to green measures such as solar panels.

The town purchased the property in 2001 in an effort to increase its affordable housing stock. It was not until 10 years later that HAC was selected by the town to develop the land into 27 units of affordable housing.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Melpet in October 2015 and shortly thereafter residents moved in. “This was truly a community partnership and the beneficiaries are living there now,” said HAC’s director of housing development Sandy Horvitz. “The real winners are the families that have an opportunity to thrive in this beautiful, rustic setting that has an amazing look and feel, adjacent to a working horse ranch.”

The Best in American Living Awards is the residential building industry’s premier awards program, recognizing the most creative and talented builders, remodelers, architects, designers, developers, land planners and interior designers who have redefined design excellence for homes and communities throughout the nation and the world.

Tags: Affordable Housing on Cape Cod, Affordable Housing Development on Cape Cod, Melpet Farm, Melpet Farm Residences, Sandy Horvitz, POAH, rental housing, Best in American Living Awards

Melpet Farm: A Unique History

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 @ 02:35 PM

Last month HAC celebrated the near-completion of The Residences at Melpet Farm with a ribbon cutting ceremony. When finished, the development will consist of 27 affordable apartments on Route 134 in Dennis, providing a safe, secure home for Cape Codders. 

Long before affordable housing was ever considered for the property, the site once served as a Wild West theme park known as Frontier Valley. The brainchild of John Doherty and Chris Joyce, the park was built in 1957 and featured a dirt road flanked by a row of Western-style buildings that included a Pony Express, a trading post, bank and a jail (for outlaws, of course).

Families were entertained by wagon rides, riding demonstrations and mock-shoot outs between the “good guys” and the “bad guys.”

Among the more popular cowboys to wow Frontier Valley audiences was TV’s Rex Trailer, star of the children’s show “Boomtown”, who visited the park often.

Frontier Valley had a relatively short life, lasting less than a decade before being replaced by a stable where horses were boarded.

                                                   Source: Dennis, Cape Cod by Nancy Thacher Reed

Tags: Melpet Farm

Melpet Farm Project Allows Residents to Stay on Cape Cod

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 @ 11:54 AM
Vietnam veteran Daniel Paulsen in front of one of the apartment units at Melpet Farm.

The real impact of developing affordable housing on Cape Cod can be witnessed in the people that it helps. They are not unlike Vietnam veteran Daniel Paulsen who will soon move into one of 27 new affordable apartments at The Residences at Melpet Farm which HAC is building on Route 134 in Dennis with Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH).

While Paulsen, a native of Connecticut who moved here 11 years ago, always dreamed of living on Cape Cod, he acknowledged the region’s housing challenges are great. “You can’t find anything,” he said, particularly for someone like him who lives on a fixed income.

Paulsen’s arrival to the Cape was initially filled with promise. He started a painting business that was steadily growing until America’s financial crisis hit home in 2008. “I lost everything and moved back to Connecticut,” he said.

Still there was something pulling him back to this part of New England – his friends affectionately refer to him as “Cape Cod Dan” – so he decided to return. 

He admitted it has not been easy, but his fortune changed earlier this year when he filled out an application for an apartment at Melpet Farm. The development is intended for those earning 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) in Barnstable County or $36,780 for one person; $42,000 for two people; and $47,280 for three people.

Though he submitted an application, he said, “I didn’t think I even had a chance” which is why he never attended the housing lottery in July when Paulsen’s name was the first to be pulled. Paulsen said he was shocked when he first heard the news. Since then his excitement has only grown. “Seeing it in person is really amazing,” he said. “These are just gorgeous. It is unbelievable.”

At a ribbon cutting ceremony last month celebrating the near-completion of Melpet Farm, HAC CEO Rick Presbrey said the satisfaction he derives from these types of projects is that they ultimately help those like Paulsen. “What I get thrilled at is the principle of getting people a decent place to live,” he said.

Consisting of eight residential buildings along with a community building, The Residences at Melpet Farm are designed to use half as much energy as a typical development. Solar panels will soon be placed on Melpet Farm, making it a net zero project “which means the project will produce nearly as much energy as it uses so that is quite a feat for an affordable housing development,” said Aaron Gornstein, president of POAH.

“But the real point of all of this is of course the residents who are going to be living here and the affordable housing that’s being provided,” added Gornstein, as he introduced Paulsen to the audience. “We can’t wait for you to move in.” “I can’t wait,” Paulsen replied.

Congressman William Keating said Cape Cod needs developments like this for its economy to thrive and to support its year-round workforce.

As he toured one of the completed units, Dennis Planning Board Chair Bob Mezzadri spoke about the importance of Melpet Farm to his community. “You can’t put a price tag on this,” he said. “There is a real need for affordable housing in all communities in Massachusetts, but it’s especially important to the Cape and the town of Dennis.”

Affordable housing projects like this, he said, can be used to keep the region’s workforce and younger population from moving off-Cape. “We have to do more of these,” he said.

Tags: Cape Cod, Melpet Farm