Oak Bluffs interviews affordable housing developers


Updated November 10

The Oak Bluffs affordable housing committee interviewed the organizations competing to become the developer of the Southern Tier area (also known as the Southern Woodlands). Representatives from the Onyx Group were interviewed on Friday, while representatives from Island Housing Trust were interviewed on Monday. 

The two developers both presented somewhat altered versions of their responses to the Southern Tier request for proposals (RFP) from Oak Bluffs, which they previously presented to the Oak Bluffs select board on Nov. 1

The most notable addition was how much each group thought their projects would cost. David Ennis, president of Affirmative Investments, said IHT’s plans would cost $535,480 per unit. Ennis said they will raise $13.4 million from different grants and loans to finance the project, which is enough for the first phase of 25 units at the $535,480 per-unit price tag. Meanwhile, Kyle Wilton from the Onyx Group said their project would cost a total of $28 million. Wilton said they estimate to be able to gather the needed amount from various grants and loans. 

According to Ted Galante, founding principal of Galante Architect Studios, the Onyx Group’s project is estimated to be finished in the summer of 2025. This is a faster time frame than the one given by IHT in the previous meeting, which was finishing the first phase of 25 units by 2025 or earlier.

The committee’s evaluation team asked the representatives questions about their proposed plans based on the 11 evaluation points from the RFP: management plan, affordability, commitment to sustainability, sensitivity to site design and landscaping, building design and materials, development experience, unit accessibility, evidence of ability to secure financing, creativity to maximize available space, alternative transportation, and traffic, circulation, and parking. These standards were based on community input, according to Oak Bluffs affordable housing committee chair Mark Leonard. 

“I’d like to thank you all for all of the time you’ve put into this. Our next step is the evaluation team’s meeting, later this week,” Leonard said. “We hope to have a recommendation to the select board by the end of the week.” 

Updated with a correction regarding IHT’s project completion time frame.