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FY17 review: 693 apartments financed in EMass

Posted on August 30, 2017

In eastern Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) used its capital sources to finance 693 mixed-income apartments last year, often through locally-issued Ch. 40B comprehensive land-use permits.  

In our continuing review of MHP’s multifamily lending in Fiscal Year 2017, here’s a look at our commitments and closings, plus two more suburban multifamily financings from the previous year that we have not accounted for previously. (Note: This roundup does not include SE Mass. and the Cape).

Ashland – MHP provided a $7.5 million permanent loan to support Ashland Woods, a 60-unit apartment community developed by Trask Inc. Located on the Boston Marathon route near the Hopkinton line, six one-bedroom and nine two-bedroom apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent of area median income (AMI).

Billerica – To support the construction of the 384-unit Aspen Apartments, MHP provided Garden Homes Development Companies with a Project Eligibility Letter, something developers must obtain in order to apply for a Ch. 40B comprehensive permit.  In FY 2016, MHP also committed $10 million in financing as part of its participation in a $61 million permanent loan. Ninety-six of the apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent AMI.

Bridgewater – In FY 2016, MHP closed on a $14 million participation in a $22.4 million permanent loan for the financing of the Residences at Lakeshore, a 192-unit Ch. 40B development. Developed by Claremont Companies, 18 one-bedroom, 28 two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units are affordable at or below 80 percent AMI.

Juan Quinones said getting an apartment at Tenney Place was like winning the lottery for his family.

Haverhill – Perhaps no event encapsulated the need for affordable apartments more than the Tenney Place Phase I grand opening, where Haverhill resident Juan Quinones equated the affordable housing lottery to playing the the state lottery. “I’m not going to win that one,” was his first thought. But win this lottery Quinones did and the prize was an affordable apartment for his wife and young daughter.

“I finally won the lottery,” joked Quinones, who works for the Hampton Inn hotel chain as a chief engineer. “Where I was living before, there was a lot of mayhem and not a place where you want to raise a family.  I’m at the point in my life where I want a nice life for my family.”  

Tenney Place Phase I is located in a single-family neighborhood outside of downtown Haverhill near Route 495. Dakota Partners was able to build the apartments due to a Ch. 40B comprehensive land use permit from the City of Haverhill. It was primarily financed with tax credits awarded by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. All 60 units are affordable to households at or below 60 percent AMI. MHP provided a $3.65 million permanent loan.

Also in FY 2017, MHP has committed $3.8 million in financing for Tenney Place Phase II, which will provide 72 more apartments affordable to households at or below 60 percent AMI.

Norton – Just off Route 495, MHP provided a Project Eligibility Letter and committed $15 million in permanent financing for the development of 274 East Main Street, a 188-unit Ch. 40B development. Developed by Campanelli Construction and Thorndike Development , the seven-building community features 60 one-bedroom, 72 two-bedroom and nine three-bedroom apartments, with 20 one-, 24 two- and three three-bedroom units affordable to households at or below 80 percent of AMI. MHP’s financing commitment is part of a $38.6 million permanent loan commitment.

Norwood – In June 2017, MHP closed on a $15 million participation in a larger permanent loan that supported Campanelli Construction and Thorndike Development’s construction of One Upland, a 262-unit Ch. 40B development on a portion of the former Polaroid campus. Close to highways and three train stations, 66 apartments are affordable at or below 80 percent AMI. MHP also provided the developers with a Project Eligibility Letter, which is required in order to apply to the town for a Ch. 40B comprehensive permit.

Westford – A story with roots stretching back to 2001 when Rita Farrell of MHP’s community assistance team traveled to Westford to see if a sand pit could be turned into housing reached two milestones in FY 2017.

Now a fully realized community hub with a junior high, athletic fields and housing, MHP closed on a $2 million loan for Stony Brook Phase II, a 36-unit affordable housing community developed by Common Ground Development Corp. Also in FY 2017, MHP committed $1.72 million in 40-year fixed rate financing from its Treasury Risk Share Program to Common Ground for the refinancing of Stony Brook Phase 1, a 15-unit affordable housing development.

The lending opportunities were the result of Farrell’s work. In the fall of 2001, she traveled to the site to meet with then-Westford Housing Authority Executive Director Chris Pude. At the time, it was a classic teenage wasteland featuring scrub brush, beer cans, old tires and dirt bike tracks. Pude pointed at some sand hills where the school would be built, another area where there would be athletic fields and to another spot where housing could be built.

For the next few years, Farrell and MHP's community assistance team worked with the town and housing authority to position the land for housing. The housing authority ultimately issued a Request for Proposal and leased the land to Common Ground for development. 

Common Ground then developed 15 affordable units through the Suburban Rental Pilot Program, offered by MHP and the state to promote small-scale affordable housing production. This program also produced small-scale developments of under 20 units in Acton, Chelmsford, Groton, Hopkinton, Sudbury and Truro, and served as a model for the Baker Administration’s Community Scale Housing Initiative, a joint effort between the state and MassHousing.

About MHP: MHP uses private bank funds and other capital sources to provide long-term financing for the creation and preservation of affordable rental housing. Statewide in FY 2017, MHP provided over $91 million in commitments for the financing 1,600 apartments, over 1,000 of them affordable. In addition, MHP closed over $106 million in loans for the financing or refinancing of over 1,800 apartments.

For more details, check out MHP’s Multifamily Financing Interest Rate Weekly Tracker, which has terms and interest rates updated weekly for Treasury Risk Share, Fannie Mae Fixed, Fannie Mae Variable, FHA MAP and MHP Private Bank Funds. For more information, contact Director of Lending David Rockwell at or 857-317-8550 or Senior Relationship Manager Nancy McCafferty at or 857-317-8556.

More FY17 reviews:

Boston area - MHP preserves 496 affordable apartments

Boston - MHP finances +400 new units

Metro Boston - New apts in Brookline, Revere, Somerville ...

SE Mass/Cape - 9 developments, 469 apartments financed

Central Mass. - 6 developments, $27.5M for the financing of 368 apartments

Springfield: Featuring scattered site financings to keep neighborhoods strong

WMass: Supporting new homes for rural seniors & restoration of historic buildings