Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) has completed extensive renovations at the 101-unit Central Annex/Union Court in Pittsfield while also preserving affordability for senior citizens and disabled residents there for the long term.
MassHousing provided $8.9 million in financing for the $16 million project, including a $5.4 million construction and permanent loan and a $3.5 million bridge loan. An additional $1.75 million was provided from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which MassHousing manages on behalf of the state Department of Housing and Community Development.
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.
POAH has renewed the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract on all 101 apartments, which will keep them affordable for nearly 30 years.
"It's a gem of a property. We will be here for the long term," said POAH CEO Aaron Gornstein at a Sept. 28 event to celebrate the completion of renovations. Gornstein noted that had POAH not purchased the housing in 2007 and extended the Section 8 contract the affordable apartments would have been at risk of converting to market rates.
POAH made substantial renovations to the property, including upgrades to plumbing, HVAC and fire safety systems, as well as kitchens, bathrooms and elevators. The property also received a new roof and limited masonry repointing.
"Central Annex is a beautiful property that will continue to provide affordable homes to senior citizens and disabled residents in Pittsfield," said Tim Sullivan, MassHousing's Deputy Director for Finance and Rental Programs. "We were very pleased to be able to work with POAH to help renovate the property and make sure it remains as an important affordable housing resource for the residents who live there."
Other funding for the development was provided by DHCD and equity from the sale of Low Income Housing Tax Credits.