WORCESTER, Mass. - Housing is the state's biggest priority right now. It's a sentiment the Healey-Driscoll administration continues to echo across the state.

"It's the key to the social determinacy of health," said Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll. "You have less food insecurity, better education outcomes, less trauma when you have a house you can count on."

After obtaining grant funds, the Worcester Housing Authority announced the redevelopment of their Curtis Apartments in the Great Brook Valley neighborhood. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Worcester Housing Authority hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for their Curtis Apartment renovation project

  • The WHA will knock down all 372 units, and add an extra 100 for tenants earning between 60% and 80% of the area median income

  • All of the units at the Curtis Apartments complex, located in the Great Brook Valley neighborhood, were built in 1951

  • The entire project is expected to cost more than $330 million

Some of those units were built in the early 1950s, making it the WHA's second oldest property. 

"You won't see an elevator in any of these buildings that gets folks to the second or third floor of their apartment," said WHA CEO Alex Corrales. "You won't see any sprinklers in these buildings. But you will see a washer in their kitchen, that's already too small. You'll see tiny bedrooms."

The project, expected to cost more than $330 million, includes the renovation of 372 units and will also add more than 100 new ones, for a grand total of 529. In a time where units are so desperately needed, a groundbreaking ceremony like Tuesday's is seen as a major stepping stone.

Trinity Financial was selected as the developer for the project, having worked on projects like the Courthouse Lofts downtown.

"This project is critically needed," Corrales emphasized at Tuesday's groundbreaking. "The redevelopment we are celebrating today is an opportunity to not only provide modern housing and amenities, but to move the stigma that's attached to public housing and in some cases, affordable housing."

The Healey-Driscoll administration estimates Massachusetts needs roughly 200,000 total units, at a minimum, to meet the state's current demand. While the Curtis Apartments are a small start, city leadership says it's still a start.

"We need housing, and we need more, and we need it now," said Worcester City Manager Eric Batista. "I think that's the message you're getting across from everybody here, and this project does that."

"Projects like these help to improve the quality of life for our Worcester residents who will be enjoying this development," said Mayor Joseph Petty.

The housing authority expects to have all phases of this project completed in just under a decade. The expectation is right around the eight-year mark.