Historically there has been a divide between Salem, Massachusetts’ downtown district and the largely Latino neighborhood of El Punto. Despite Salem’s position as the second-most popular tourist destination in the Commonwealth, El Punto has experienced a century of disinvestment. So, when a prominent parcel of land just at the edge of El Punto became available, North Shore Community Development Coalition (CDC) seized the opportunity to develop it.
“We had coveted this site,” says Mickey Northcutt, Chief Executive Officer of North Shore CDC. “We thought it was critical that whatever went on it was rooted in equity. It is a real opportunity to create something beautiful and inclusive.”
They have named the new development El Centro.
Straddling downtown and the river, the site lends itself to being mixed use. Northcutt continues, “One of our key programmatic partners is North Shore Community Health. They serve thousands of low-income people a year, regardless of economic or immigration status. Yet, they are in a facility that is less than half the size they need, which has been a barrier to their growth. It doesn’t match the quality of care they provide.” The planned 35,000 square-foot community health center will include family health, behavioral health, dental and a much-needed urgent care clinic. Additional commercial space will include a bank, an existing tenant, and North Shore CDC’s office. The project will also include 48 affordable apartments for seniors, meeting a tremendous neighborhood need.