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History lesson part of Madison Park preservation celebration

October 27, 2012

Madison_ParkBOSTON, Oct. 27, 2012 --- The Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) delivered an interesting neighborhood history lesson recently during aceremony celebrating the preservation of Madison Park Village Phase IV.

MPDC is combining federal low-income housing tax credits and $18.5 million in tax-exempt financing through MHP's MATCH Program to preserve 143 two- and three-bedroom affordable rental homes. The units are spread out over 15 townhouse-style buildings in the neighborhood behind Madison Park High School, which is within walking distance of Dudley Square.

As a result of this financing, all of the units are affordable to residents making less than 50 percent of area median income (AMI), or no more than $48,150 for a household of four. In addition, 15 of the units have beenset aside for residents making less than 30 percent of AMI. "This is going to enable us to sustain this critical housing stock now and in the future," said Jeanne Pinado, MPDC's executive director during the Oct. 25 event.

While the focus was on recognizing the development team and touring the properties, Pinado also provided a brief history lesson of the neighborhood, which includes the 132-unit Smith House Apartment Building, the 131-unit Haynes House Apartment Building, Madison Park Phase III (120 townhouse units) and Madison Park Phase IV, all developed by MPDC.

Pinado remindedthe audiencethat this neighborhood deteriorated after World War II as Boston's dropping population led to many abandoned buildings. As trash and blight increased, the neighborhood was eyeballed as a potential part of a proposed Rte. 695 inner highway that would connect Rte. 95 with the Southeast Expressway.

Neighborhood residents protested and eventually created the Lower Roxbury Community Corporation in 1966 (later renamed MPDC). This group lobbied against the highway and urged the City of Boston to include housing in any subsequent urban renewal plans. Eventually, LRCC was designated to develop housing on part of the site (Madison Park High School was built on another part). LRCC was the first community group in the country to be designated as a developer in an urban renewal area.

Starting in 1973 and over the next seven years, LRCC developed Smith House, Haynes House and Madison Park Phase III and IV. LRCC worked with the support of Urban Planning Aid, a consortium of urban planning professors and architects from Harvard, MIT and Brandeis that had been formed to offer urban renewal alternatives to the "Inner Belt" highway idea. To watch a short video history of this neighborhood transformation, click here. To read about the Urban Planning Aid group, click here.

History lesson delivered, Pinado proceeded to thank members of the development team. Madison Park IV is being financed with federal low-income housing tax credits awarded by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, with First Sterling Financial as the tax-credit investor.

MP_IVMHP is providing $18.5 million in bond financing through the Massachusetts Tax-Exempt for Credit Financing Program (MATCH), which it offers in partnership with MassDevelopment. MATCH combines MassDevelopment's ability to raise money through tax-exempt bonds with MHP's ability to bring in private-sector financing, in this case crucial letters of credits from its funding banks. These letters back the bonds and allow them to be AAA-rated, providing the borrower the lowest possible interest rates. MHP can also arrange for direct placement of the bonds to create further savings. In this case, the bonds were purchased directly by Bank of America.

"We've very pleased to be able to provide financing for this beautiful and much-needed housing," said Judy Jacobson, MHP's deputy director. "Jeanne (Pinado) and her team are so fabulous that when they ask, we say yes. MHP has now provided financing for four developments of Madison Park's, totaling about $33 million dollars."

Jacobson added that thanks to strong organizations like Madison Park, MHP has been able to use its bank-funded loan pool to provide over $250 million in loans and commitments for the financing of over 5,000 apartments in Boston.

Other speakers at this event included Anthony Fracasso of MassDevelopment, Maria Barry of Bank of America, Michael Sassouni of First Sterling and Madison Park Village resident Linda Oliver, who thanked the construction workers for being sensitive to residents during construction. All residents were able to remain in their units throughout construction.

Dellbrook Construction Company began work in the spring. Rehabilitation work was about 80 percent done by the end of October and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. Improvements include new siding, insulation, windows, roofs and heating systems, as well as new carpets and stairways inside and out. Interior improvements include new flooring, appliances and bathroom upgrades. Upgrades are also being made to the grounds and playground areas.

For more information about this development and how MHP financing can work for your development, contact MHP Senior Loan Officer Nancy McCafferty at 617-330-9944 x287.


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