Posted on October 10, 2017
Smaller homes so rural seniors can downsize. Mill housing so successful that the town has asked MHP to help it do more. A refinancing to help a new owner stabilize downtown properties. That's just three examples of financing MHP did in Fiscal Year 2017 to help communities in the western part of the state.
In our eighth and final roundup of MHP's loans and commitments in FY17, MHP takes a look at its activities in Western Mass. communities, where it provided $26.25 million for the financing of 455 rental apartments. This roundup excludes Springfield, which was covered in a previous story.
Goshen – Seniors living in large, remote, hard-to-maintain single-family homes can be a problem in rural areas, where finding suitable apartments to downsize to are hard to find. This is why MHP followed up on its support of Westhampton Senior Housing by commiting $500,000 in permanent financing for Goshen Senior Housing.
Sponsored by the Hilltown Community Development Corp., the development will provide 10 affordable senior apartments. The new homes are being built on land Hilltown purchased from the Goshen Congregational Church with a loan from the quasi-public Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC). The site is in a prime a Main St. location near the library, town offices, Council on Aging Office as well as near a public park, the post office and a general store.
This is the fourth loan MHP has made to Hilltown CDC for affordable housing in the small “hill” towns northwest of Amherst and Northampton. MHP financed and then refinanced seven affordable family units in Chesterfield, and financed both phases of senior housing in Westhampton, totaling 15 apartments. For Goshen Senior Housing, MHP also provided Hilltown with a Project Eligibility Letter, which the Hilltown needed to get from a subsidizing agency in order to apply to the town for a Ch. 40B comprehensive land use permit.
Holyoke – In one of the most striking examples of adaptive reuse you’ll ever see, MHP used its bank-funded loan pool to provide Boston-based Weld Management with a $785,000 permanent loan for the transformation of two school buildings, a rectory and a convent into 54 affordable apartments in downtown Holyoke. Now known as Chestnut Park, the new housing offers three studios, 28 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom apartments. The housing is located within two blocks of the Holyoke Health Center and city hall, and is also near the city’s new regional transportation center.
Leading the development effort for Weld Management was E. Denis Walsh, who is no stranger to the city. At grand opening ceremonies in 2016, Walsh said his love of the city dates back to 1978 when he and his wife stayed at the Yankee Pedlar Inn and they were “struck by the beauty of the architecture.” Walsh returned to the city a few years later to develop the Caledonian Building, which houses the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce. It was the first of several development efforts in the city which total $26 million in investment. "I love working in Holyoke," Walsh said. "I'm convinced that Holyoke is going to be greater than ever. It's going to take time, but all the ingredients are there: beautiful architecture, great location and great innovative people who love their city."
Walsh passed away later in 2016. In Holyoke, his memory will live on in the buildings he restored.
Ludlow – MHP has committed $500,000 in permanent mortgage financing to help support WinnCompanies’ redevelopment of a historic mill in downtown Ludlow into 51 mixed-income senior apartments. The new housing – which will hold its grand opening at the end of October – features 51 apartments for households at or below 60 percent of area median income (AMI), 15 apartments at or below 30 percent of AMI and nine units that will be rented at market rate.
A leader in the difficult job of transforming historic mills into mixed-income housing, Winn has now completed 36 adaptive reuse projects in five states and the District of Columbia, transforming historic properties into more than 3,600 units of mixed-income housing with a collective assessed value of more than $500 million. In Massachusetts, MHP has provided Winn with over $65 million in loans and commitments for the financing of over 1,400 apartments, including financing for mills in Lawrence, Fitchburg and now Ludlow.
Dalton Apartments, Pittsfield – In participation with Bank of America’s Special Bond Offering product (SBO), MHP provided Rees-Larkin Development and Berkshire Housing Development Corp. with $2.5 million in permanent tax-exempt financing for the acquisition and rehabilitation of Dalton Apartments. The financing – done in combination with federal and state tax credits, and other state and city subsidies – will provide $12.7 million in funds for necessary repairs and extend the affordability of 100 apartments for families. Work on the property included improvements in building systems, roofs, doors, windows, siding, kitchen and baths. The funding stabilizes an important source of affordable housing for families as Dalton Apartments features 28 one-, 44 two- and 28 three-bedroom apartments, all affordable at or below 60 percent of area median income.
This is the second loan MHP has made to Rees-Larkin to support rental housing in Pittsfield. In 2012, it provided an $800,000 permanent loan to support the transformation of the Rice Silk Mill into 45 mixed-income apartments.
Using its Treasury’s Risk Share Program, MHP was able to refinance the original $2 million loan and provide Marathon Development with a $2.375 million, 40-year loan while also reducing the interest rate from 6.78 to 3.5 percent. New Amsterdam Apartments consists of seven buildings: the historic downtown Wood Building at 421 North Street, the brick Grace Building at 103 Bradford Street, and five new buildings of modular construction at 80-168 Bradford Street. The Wood Building has ground-floor commercial space and 12 upper-story apartments, the Grace Building has 12 apartments and the five new buildings contain 43 apartments. There is one studio, 16 one-bedroom and 50 two-bedroom apartments, all affordable to families earning below 60 percent of area median income.
The five new buildings were finished in 2010 and were heralded as a major facelift for the city’s aging West Side. By 2012 however, the new buildings were experiencing water damage. Marathon Development, which had been brought in as a co-partner, funded repairs, bought out the other partner and brought in a new property management company to improve operating conditions. “Whenever you can get financing like this, it helps stabilize operations and fulfill the mission of providing safe, decent affordable housing,” said Mark Soja, president of Marathon Development Group. “We couldn’t have done this without MHP’s help and this financing will benefit the properties for years to come.”
Built in 1873, Cable Mills was used by various companies to produce twine, textiles and cable. In the 1950s, it employed nearly 500 workers. By 1996, it was closed. Historic preservation pioneer Bob Kuehn bought it in 2003 but died of a heart attack three years later. Williams College grad Bart Mitchell stepped in and completed the project with developer Dave Traggorth.
Lease up for market-rate units went fast as health care workers, graphic designers, down-sizing Baby Boomers, municipal employees and professors were attracted to the mountain views and closeness to downtown and the college. The town’s Planning Board took note, issuing a mission statement in 2016, calling for smaller denser apartments like Cable Millis. With grant funding from MHP, the town has launched a “Future Neighborhoods” campaign to move this initiative forward.
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 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.
More FY17 reviews: