From The Republican
Saturday, January 12, 2008
By Fred Contrada
The first newly built residential units on Hospital Hill could break ground as soon as April 1 after the Planning Board approved the project Thursday night.
Community Builders, which is developing part of the residential component of the Village Hill Northampton project, sought and received permission to build 40 apartment units in six buildings on three parcels. Thirty-two of those units will be affordable to people earning up to 60 percent of the median area income. Twelve of those 32 will be earmarked for clients of the Department of Mental Health.
The entire campus where the commercial-industrial-residential complex is being built was once the site of Northampton State Hospital. The city gained control of the land when the state deinstitutionalized clients in the early 1990s, placing many of them in community settings. The project had been called the Village at Hospital Hill but MassDevelopment, the quasi-public agency overseeing the project, changed the name to Village Hill Northampton because it said some prospective commercial tenants were turned off by the reference to the hospital.