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A New Home, and an Investment in Community

December 21, 2018 GMT

FITCHBURG -- Marco Perez and Maria Rivera were back in the city after living in Florida for 15 years.

They wanted to be closer to family and their grandchildren, so the couple moved in with their daughter as they looked for their own place. In November, they began the process of buying an apartment building at 183 High St. renovated by NewVue Communities. By the end of the month, they will have a place to call home.

“It was such a good fit for them,” said Denise Wortman, the realtor who helped the couple buy the apartment building.

City officials, NewVue staff, contractors who helped with the project, and residents welcomed Perez and Rivera to their new home Wednesday and celebrated the growth of the North of Main Neighborhood.


Mayor Stephen DiNatale presented a citation from the city to Rivera and Perez and thanked them for choosing to invest in the neighborhood.

On Dec. 28, the closing sale date, they will become owners, Wortman said.

The couple’s apartment is gray-blue apartment and has two units. There are two bedrooms on the first floor and four bedrooms on the upper two floors.

During a tour of the residence, attendees entered an open dining and living area that flows into a kitchen with an island. Two bedrooms branch off of the main room and there is a bathroom in the back.

The upstairs unit has the same layout, but there are two more rooms on the top floor.

Perez and Rivera plan to live in the top unit with one of their sons and their mother who will relocate from Florida will live in the first-floor apartment, Wortman said.

Neighbor Beatrice Kabaya welcomed the Perez-Rivera family as her son, Okoga, clung to her leg.

She immigrated from Kenya and purchased her home through NewVue, where she is now raising her son and three daughters.

“I’m very sure you’re going to be very happy living in this home as we are living across the street from you,” said Kabaya, who is a member of NewVue’s Board of Directors. “We’re here to support each other.”

Reimagine North of Main Director Joe Ferguson said big developments in the city, like with the B.F. Brown School or City Hall, often get attention, but smaller efforts like the renovation of 183 High St. are equally important.

“Projects like these stabilize the market and have a lasting impact in the neighborhood,” he said.

NewVue Executive Director Marc Dohan said the apartment building is the eighth renovated by the community development organization. It has also built 68 residences in the neighborhood, he added.

Before touring the apartment, Dohan led attendees on a walk down Johnson and Marshall streets to see some of the homes the organization has built.

He pointed to 45 Johnston St., which was the first home NewVue developed in the neighborhoood.

Sidewalk and paving work completed by the city on those streets have also helped transform the area, Dohan said.

“This is all about building a neighborhood,” he said.

Follow Mina on Twitter @mlcorpuz.