By Tom Farmer
Corporate Communications, MassHousing
As 2013 came to an end MassHousing was a beehive of activity, closing approximately $63 million in loans for affordable housing communities in Boston, Fall River, Lowell, Pittsfield and Webster.
The financing involves 490 apartments; affordability will be preserved for 271 of those units and the remaining 219 units will be new production.
MassHousing closed $33 million in loans for the acquisition and renovation of the 146-unit Historic South End Apartments in Boston (news release). The Historic South End Apartments are being completed by The Community Builders (TCB) of Boston. In conjunction with the financing, TCB has received approval to extend the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contracts on all 146 apartments for an additional 20 years.
The Historic South End Apartments in Boston
Three South End apartment communities are being combined to form the Historic South End Apartments. TCB owns the 83-unit Dartmouth Apartments and 31-unit Project III apartments and will acquire the 32-unit Ebenezer Homes.
"The Historic South End Apartments are an important source of affordable housing for residents of the South End and this financing will ensure that these apartments remain affordable for at least another 20 years," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason.
As part of MassHousing's financing, substantial improvements will be made to the properties and the work is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
"The Community Builders has been part of Boston's South End for nearly 50 years. We are pleased to partner with MassHousing on our newest investment in the neighborhood," said TCB President and CEO Bart Mitchell. "Residents of the Historic South End Apartments will enjoy continued affordability, along with new systems to make their homes safer and more comfortable."
The contractor will be CWC Builders. The management agent is The Community Builders and the architect is Davis Square Architects.
MassHousing closed $7.1 million to preserve affordability for senior citizens at the 125-unit Tecumseh Mill in Fall River (news release).
Tecumseh Mill in Fall River
As a condition of the MassHousing financing, property owner Tecumseh Holdings LLC will extended the HUD Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract and the affordability on 124 apartments for 20 years when the current HAP contract expires on March 1. One of the building's apartments is occupied by a resident superintendent.
Tecumseh Mill was built in 1866 as a steam-powered cotton mill. It was converted in 1984 into an affordable apartment community under the HUD Section 8 Program. The property was refinanced through MassHousing's Section 8 Proactive Preservation Program, which seeks to extend affordability at MassHousing-financed developments where MassHousing mortgages are due to mature and Section 8 HAP contracts are due to expire. The original MassHousing loan matures on March 1.
"Tecumseh Mill is a well maintained and operated housing community and this loan closing will extend affordability for the senior citizens who live there for many years to come,'' said Gleason.
"We are so pleased that MassHousing approached us with their Proactive Preservation Program. It was the perfect solution to keep this beautifully renovated historic mill building in tip-top shape, and available to residents at affordable rents. We could not have asked for a better result," said Paul Clayton, General Partner of Tecumseh Holdings LLC.
MassHousing closed $8.9 million in financing for the renovation and preservation of affordability at the 101-unit Central Annex Apartments for elderly and disabled residents in Pittsfield (news release).
Central Annex Apartments in Pittsfield
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) of Boston, which owns the Central Annex Apartments, has renewed the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract on all 101 apartments, which will keep them affordable for at least the next 20 years. POAH also plans to make substantial renovations to the property.
"Central Annex has been a valuable affordable housing resource in Pittsfield for many years and this financing will not only keep the development affordable long into the future, but it will also result in the property receiving a substantial renovation for the benefit of the senior citizens and disabled residents who live there," said Gleason.
The MassHousing financing includes a $5.4 million construction permanent loan and a $3.5 million bridge loan. An additional $1.75 million is being provided from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is managed by MassHousing on behalf of the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
Central Annex encompasses two low-rise brick buildings. The first, on Second Avenue, was built as the Central High School in 1898. The other, located on Union Street, started as the Berkshire Hotel in 1905. In 1979, both buildings were converted into housing with MassHousing financing and both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"We are deeply appreciative of MassHousing's support of this project, which will renovate these very special and historic properties in downtown Pittsfield that serve seniors and the disabled. POAH looks forward to making these properties safer and more comfortable for these residents and having MassHousing as a partner in the financing has made it possible," said POAH President Amy S. Anthony.
The contractor will be Keith Construction, Inc. and the architect is Guzman Prufer, Inc. The management agent will be POAH.
MassHousing closed a $2.285 million permanent loan for the acquisition and redevelopment of the 52-unit Counting House Lofts in Lowell (news release). Counting House Lofts is being developed by WinnDevelopment of Boston.
Counting House Lofts in Lowell
Located on Jackson Street in Lowell, Counting House Lofts is part of the Jackson-Appleton-Middlesex (JAM) District, which is part of a plan to reconnect the area to downtown Lowell and the Lowell National Historic Park. Counting House Lofts is a three-story, brick building constructed in 1825 to house the Hamilton Manufacturing Company Storehouse and Counting House.
The building is currently vacant except for the Lowell Community Health Center, which will continue to occupy commercial space in the building and is not involved in the MassHousing financing. The development will feature 52 one and two-bedroom apartments of which 26 will be affordable and 26 will be rented at market rates.
"Counting House Lofts is another important part of the revitalization of downtown Lowell and the development will add more quality affordable housing to the area," said Gleason. "WinnDevelopment specializes in converting underused, historic properties into mixed-use housing and this project will complement other new housing communities in the Jackson-Appleton-Middlesex District."
The project is also receiving $1 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and is expected to be completed in December 2014. The contractor is Dellbrook Construction of Braintree and the architect is The Architectural Team, Inc. of Chelsea. The management agent is WinnResidential of Boston.
"This mixed-use and mixed-income development fits in nicely with the other public investments in the area. Together a vital and lasting community is being solidified along this Jackson Street corridor. WinnCompanies is proud to be actively involved in such progress, and could not have been, without MassHousing's financial support and continued partnership," said Gilbert Winn, Managing Principal of the WinnCompanies.
MassHousing closed $11.8 million in loans for the acquisition and adaptive reuse of the historic Sitkowski School in Webster into 66 affordable apartments for residents age 55 and over (news release).
The Sitkowski School in Webster
The Sitkowski School Apartments is being developed by Neighborhood Of Affordable Housing (NOAH) of East Boston. Built in the early 1900s and expanded in 1920, the three and four-story brick building is located in downtown Webster adjacent to the Webster Town Hall and Webster Public Library. The building has been vacant since 2005.
In addition to NOAH developing the 66 apartments, all of which will remain affordable in perpetuity, Webster's Community Senior Center will be relocated to the gymnasium area of the former school building. The unit mix will include 59 one-bedroom apartments and seven two-bedroom apartments.
The rehabilitation of the Sitkowski School is an important piece of a larger master plan advanced by the Webster Redevelopment Authority to revitalize downtown Webster.
"The Sitkowski School has been vacant and unused for nearly 10 years but now it will be transformed into a valuable affordable housing resource for senior citizens and the town of Webster for decades to come," said Gleason.
The MassHousing financing involves $1.75 million permanent loan, an $8.1 million bridge loan and a $2 million deferred payment loan. The project is also receiving $1 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
"We are very pleased to have been selected by the Town of Webster to rehabilitate this historic school for use as senior housing and a new Community/Senior Center. We know the town is working diligently to revitalize its downtown and the Sitkowski School is one of the centerpieces of that renewal effort," said NOAH Executive Director Phil Giffee. "The $20 million project will also create more than 100 jobs as it creates great housing options for hard-working seniors in the area."
The project is expected to be completed in May 2015. The contractor is Dellbrook Construction and the architect is DiMella Shaffer Architects of Boston. The management agent is WinnResidential.