155-unit apartment community was at risk of converting to market rents
Low-Income families and senior citizens living in the 154-unit Briston Arms Apartments in Cambridge will see significant property improvements and the extension of affordability as a result of $45.1 million in MassHousing financing.
Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) of Boston celebrated its acquisition of Briston Arms with an event attended by Mayor David Maher and other dignitaries on July 29.
POAH plans to extend the federal Section 8 Housing Assistance rental subsidies on 73 of the apartments. An additional 46 apartments will receive new rental assistance subsidies and 35 of the apartments will continue to be rented at market rates.
The property had a mortgage loan that was scheduled to mature in 2018. At that point, affordability restrictions would have expired. As a condition of the loan, affordability will be maintained.
"Cambridge is one of the hottest real estate markets in the country right now," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "Thankfully POAH, which has an excellent track record of preserving quality affordable rental housing, has purchased the property and will keep it affordable for the residents."
Located on Garden Street in Cambridge, Briston Arms was originally financed by MassHousing and completed in 1973. The property consists of 15 studio apartments, 44 one-bedroom apartments, 90 two-bedroom apartments and five three-bedroom apartments in six-multi-unit and townhouse-style buildings.
"POAH appreciates the support it received to acquire one of Cambridge's most highly visible and important affordable housing developments," said POAH President/CEO Aaron Gornstein. "This was a complex transaction and we would not have been successful in preserving the affordability of these apartments without the assistance of a range of partners at the local, state and federal level, including MassHousing."
Among the improvements anticipated for Briston Arms are new windows, storm doors, roofing and siding as well as masonry repairs. The property will also be brought into compliance with current accessibility requirements.
In addition to the MassHousing financing, which includes a $35.8 million construction and permanent loan and a $9.3 million bridge loan, the transaction involved tax credit equity raised from the sale of state and federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits as well as secondary loans totaling $1.85 million from the City of Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust (CAHT).