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516 Essex st restoration COMPLETED 2017


Our Upcoming Capital Budget

Habitat P.L.U.S., Inc. seeks to replace and insulate the roof, install new siding, replace gutters, insulate, wrap and paint the exterior of the building, install new trim around all exterior doors and windows and install shutters.  This building is utilized to house the veterans of the Cooperative Apartment Program and the administrative offices of Habitat P.L.U.S., Inc.

The capital project proposed, for HP’s step-up Co-operative Apartment Program (CAP) building, located at 520 Essex Street, will serve to maintain/upgrade the site, providing our veterans with an even safer home, in which they can be proud to reside and to make the building more energy efficient, thereby reducing its operational costs and carbon footprint.  Both buildings of HP are architecturally significant and their longevity dates to the 1840’s and early twentieth century and served as homes for the city’s prominent merchant class.  We think it fitting, that for the past twenty-eight years, these properties have housed our county’s disabled veterans, continuing their rich history, and preserving them for years to come. 

The goal to make the CAP site more energy and cost effective has already begun, through corporate partnership with the General Electric (GE), the GE Veterans Council, the GE Employee’s Good Neighbor Fund, their employee volunteers and members of the local business community, along with individuals from this and surrounding communities.  With their help, during annual spring volunteer projects, over the past several years, HP has now replaced nearly all windows in both buildings, with new energy efficient ones, reducing energy costs.  This is especially important in the CAP building, as the veterans living in this building, are responsible for their own utilities each month.  

Nearly thirty years ago the Group Home, with its massive single boiler, cost HP $8000 a year to heat.   We replaced the massive boiler, converting from oil to gas heat, with a comprehensive system of separately zoned heat, resulting in a significant reduction of kilowatt hours and a $6,800 savings, in just the first year.  Almost every room or suite now has its own thermostat, enabling us to heat only, as needed when needed.  This savings was directly applied to increasing the food budget. Work completed at our Group Home mansion in the last 3 years has cut direct operational and maintenance costs by about $18,000 per year!

Recently HP completed a $76,000 capital improvement project, on the Group Home site, replacing and insulating the roof, new fascias, soffits, gutters, and shutters, and painting the exterior of the building.  We anticipate even greater savings, due to these improvements. As our buildings range from 105 to 165 years old, they are lush with character and personality but do require more maintenance than sheetrock shack buildings. However, by replacing previously wooden features with PVC materials, we have created largely maintenance-free areas, in the most expensive elements, such as the roof, soffits, facias, and trims.  Additionally, new gutters are aluminum, as is the siding, and will last for years to come.  Not only has HP significantly lowered energy cost, we have significantly reduced future maintenance costs.

Improving Operational Efficiencies

We continue to seek operational efficiencies, and to make sensible capital improvements on a multiyear program, providing savings, and thereby allocating those savings directly for services to our veterans. It is now time to make the CAP more energy efficient, creating savings and lowering costs.

HP proposes to upgrade all building insulation, install new siding and freshly painted exterior trim at 520 Essex Street.  We are in grave need of a new roof and gutter system. It has been patched adequately for this winter, but realistically it will not last much longer than that.

HP is confident in its ability to effect similar and substantial savings with this project.  Additionally, this project will be far less expensive to repair than 516 Essex St., as it does not have the amount of detailed architectural features, as the Mansard Victorian, yet is still a prominent historic building.

The proposed project will be well supervised.  Since its founding, HP has been a family effort, in memory of a beloved cousin, Stanley J. Egan, who gave the greatest measure of devotion to our country.  Stephen J. Campbell, one of the founder’s brother, and Stanley’s first cousin was the former owner of both homes and has a significant and invaluable knowledge of the buildings.

Stephen has owned 300 apartments in this city, a construction firm and was a large hotel contractor.  He has extensive renovation, restoration, and contracting experience. He has consistently kept to thin budgets, on very difficult and expensive repairs and upgrades. On the 516 Essex St. project he delivered the completed project 30%, under the bids of two general and highly respected contractors, and was able to greatly expand the scope of work, while simultaneously saving money, on this project and future maintenance.

Stephen has bid out the project, for this site, with contractors that regularly support our mission and programs.  Therefore, we are confident the amount requested is the amount we will need, to complete the project, on time, on budget and in a substantial workmanship like manner. As a former city planning commissioner and member of the Main St. Historical Committee, his knowledge, skill set and experience is unmatched, in ensuring an outstanding final product, at significant savings.

HP will continue to self-manage all building operations and maintenance.  HP employs a Live-In Cleaning and Maintenance person, who provides regular scheduled cleaning, preventive maintenance, and management of the interior and exterior, of the physical settings. Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly, projects are documented daily. The health and safety of our veterans are of paramount importance and is reflected in the glowing outcomes of the many annual inspections by the Dept. of Veterans Services, the Veterans Administration, and all local city agencies. As written in a letter of recommendation from the VA Community Residential Care Program Coordinator, “The home is meticulously maintained, and their nutrition and food preparation practices are at restaurant level with the home’s general standards far exceeding the expectations of the Community Residential Care program.”(Copy of letter available.)

Bottom line:  buildings that have a written capital improvement and regular and preventive maintenance, are much safer and cheaper to operate.  This is a project that we are uniquely qualified to embark upon and maintain so that we can remain the leader in supportive veterans housing.