After two years of pandemic response and rapid growth to meet the needs of our community, in December 2021 La Colaborativa purchased two buildings in Chelsea with the dream of transforming the defunct spaces into a state of the art hub for immigrant community life. The Chelsea Survival Center will house all of our expanded survival services, including our community triage team, food and diaper pantry, housing programs, legal clinics, health services, and more. With 28,000 square feet, we’re also planning significant expansions including a commercial kitchen for shared community use, an outdoor mercado, and an economic development center to close the digital divide and connect our community to education, training, and jobs.
The construction began in March 2022 and has presented many challenges as we navigate inflation, supply shortages, permitting processes, and site contamination. We learned that the smaller of the two buildings would need to be completely demolished and rebuilt, and we discovered two oil tanks buried onsite, which involved a lengthy removal and cleanup process with the Department of Environmental Protection. All of this has meant extending the construction timeline and increasing our project budget substantially.