Toward Independent Living and Learning (TILL), Chelsea, MA

Toward Independent Living and Learning (TILL), Chelsea, MA

Adaptive reuse and addition
23 units
11,000 sf commercial/retail space

J. Timothy Anderson Awards for “Best Historic Rehabilitation Project Utilizing Low-Income Housing Tax Credits – Large” from the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association;
Eastern Bank Community Quarterback Award

Situated in the Bellingham Square Historic District in downtown Chelsea, the Toward Independent Living & Learning Building is a beautiful integration of community, retail, and residential space into the surrounding neighborhood.

When TILL, a not-for-profit human service agency that provides a range of support services to individuals with disabilities, decided to expand its community based residential, vocational, and support services to Chelsea, they saw the hidden potential in three rundown structures. 

Over the course of three years and much careful planning, the separate buildings were consolidated into a cohesive plan featuring 23 units of much-needed affordable housing (with two units designated for use by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services) and 11,000 sf of ground-level commercial space for use by TILL’s Adult Day Habilitation Center, TILL Central Program, and the Essence of Thyme Café.

At dusk the TILL building is adorned with symmetrical swaths of downward lighting, which not only highlight the restored historic facades and bring artistic-like expression to the exterior, but also restore the building’s street presence. The project was awarded the Eastern Bank Community Quarterback Award for “contributing in a meaningful way to the health and vitality of the various eastern Massachusetts communities”.