February 22, 2024
Kennebunk Financial savings Financial institution plans to donate land for inexpensive housing

After Kennebunk Financial savings Financial institution purchased an industrial constructing on Alewive Park Highway and remodeled it into its operations heart, a lot of the surrounding land sat unused.

It rapidly turned clear that the land in Kennebunk may very well be put to higher use by partnering with Avesta Housing to create much-needed inexpensive housing, mentioned Brad Paige, the financial institution’s president and CEO.

Kennebunk Financial savings Financial institution plans to donate land for inexpensive housing

“The again a part of the property has simply sat vacant since we purchased it. We’ve all the time wished to do one thing with it,” he mentioned.

If all goes in line with plan, the financial institution will donate the 12-acre parcel and $550,000 from its Huntington Frequent Charitable Fund to Avesta, Maine’s largest nonprofit inexpensive housing supplier, to construct 70 items of inexpensive housing for older residents. A second 12-acre parcel can be preserved as open house.

In an effort to transfer ahead, the city has to approve a contract zone to permit for multifamily housing. The planning board has scheduled a July 24 public listening to on the applying. However finally it will likely be as much as voters to approve the change, seemingly through the November election.

The partnership is considerably distinctive and really thrilling, mentioned Rebecca Hatfield, the president and CEO of Avesta. It’ll assist deal with lengthy ready lists like those at Avesta, which noticed the variety of functions for housing double from 2020 to 2022.

“What we’ve seen for the reason that pandemic is the necessity is actually at disaster ranges in all city, suburban and rural areas,” she mentioned. “The necessity for housing, and notably inexpensive housing, is larger than ever. The necessity is rising as quickly in Kennebunk as within the cities within the Larger Portland space.”

Hatfield mentioned it’s too quickly within the planning course of to estimate when building would start and the way a lot the challenge would value.


The proposal comes at a time when builders and communities are attempting to make a dent within the 22,500 inexpensive rental items wanted throughout the state – an estimate tallied by the Nationwide Low Revenue Housing Coalition. And for greater than a decade, housing advocates have warned that Maine’s quickly getting old inhabitants wants no less than 8,000 inexpensive and accessible residences for folks 55 and older.

The demand is particularly robust in communities the place inexpensive household houses are scarce and older residents need to downsize however are caught as a result of they’ll’t discover residences that might enable them to remain on the town.

Current inexpensive housing developments, together with Avesta’s West Finish II residences in South Portland and The Szanton Firm’s Milliken Heights in Previous Orchard Seaside, have been rapidly stuffed. In Cumberland, city leaders set a objective to advertise the event of 150 inexpensive housing items for folks of assorted incomes and ages.

Avesta already has 82 inexpensive housing items in Kennebunk and is wanting ahead to increasing, Hatfield mentioned. The present items embody 54 for older adults and 28 with no age restrictions. Greater than 300 individuals are on the waitlist for Avesta housing on the town.

The challenge on Alewive Park Highway aligns properly with the city’s complete plan, which prioritizes inexpensive housing, challenge supervisor Henry Hess of Sebago Technics instructed the planning board final month. It additionally would protect open house – the land close to a reclaimed gravel pit can be donated to the Kennebunk Land Belief – and shut a niche within the Jap Path by permitting it to run alongside the sting of the property.


The financial institution purchased the property in 2014, a 12 months after the William Arthur Stationery Firm was offered and consolidated right into a facility in Massachusetts. The 88,000-square-foot constructing was renovated into the financial institution’s predominant operations heart, which has about 150 administrative staff. Kennebunk Financial savings is without doubt one of the largest employers in Kennebunk.

“The expansive house of the operations facility is adequate to serve the speedy and short-term wants of Kennebunk Financial savings Financial institution,” Hess wrote in a letter to city officers. “There isn’t a actual profit for Kennebunk Financial savings to carry onto vacant land areas south of their operations heart.”

The proposal requires the land to be divided into three tons – one for Kennebunk Saving’s constructing, one for inexpensive housing and one for the open house that can be donated to the land belief.

That lot has 350 ft of entry on Alfred Highway with the potential for off-street parking and an inner path system. Avesta will use its 12-acre lot to construct two residence buildings with parking areas. Every constructing will seemingly have 35 items, however closing plans must be developed and authorized by the city.

The brand new housing can be open to folks 55 and older who make as much as 60% of the world median revenue. It is very important construct housing for older adults to make sure folks can keep of their communities as they age, Hatfield mentioned.

Paige mentioned financial institution staff are enthusiastic about partnering with Avesta and being concerned in one thing extra tangible than slicing a verify – the financial institution says it provides 10% of its annual web revenue again to the group.

“To see one thing like that go up and perceive the function the financial institution performed in it, I believe it’s a giant deal for our staff,” he mentioned.

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