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MHP closes on $2.5M permanent loan for Urban Edge’s Walker Park Apartments

Posted on April 20, 2020

BOSTON --- Continuing its history of supporting Urban Edge’s efforts to provide affordable housing for the residents of Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Mattapan, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) has just closed on a $2.5 million low-interest permanent loan for Walker Park Apartments.

Located at 67 and 80 Walnut Park and just north of Egleston Square, Walker Park features 49 new affordable apartments in two energy-efficient buildings built on lots previously occupied by single-family homes that were vacant. One building is next to a public park and another is next to a branch of a Boston Public Library.

Named after the late Delphine Walker, neighborhood activist and mother who raised her family at 80 Walnut Park, Walker Park Apartments consists of 13 one-, 28 two- and 8 three-bedroom apartments. Thirty-eight apartments are affordable to households below 60 percent of area median income and 11 are affordable to families earning under 30 percent of area median income. Five of these homes are set aside for families transitioning from homelessness. Six of these homes are set aside for people with disabilities.

Low-interest financing

MHP’s $2.5 million loan enabled Urban Edge to secure low-cost financing with a 16-year term and 30-year amortization at an annual fixed interest rate of 3.88 percent. This was done through what’s known as a direct bond placement in which tax-exempt bonds issued by MassDevelopment were purchased by Bank of America, with its proceeds converted to an MHP permanent loan upon completion of construction and leasing of apartments.

“During these uncertain times, we are proud to be able to provide Urban Edge with this low-cost financing so it can continue to provide affordable housing and services to the neighborhoods and people it has served so well for over five decades,” said Clark Ziegler, MHP’s executive director. “Strong community-based nonprofits like Urban Edge hold the city’s neighborhoods together and we’re proud to support them at a time when they are needed more than ever.”

The closing was completed in late March as MHP and Urban Edge were shifting to working remotely while figuring out how to file necessary legal documents with the Registry of Deeds, which was closed due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

Honoring Delphine Walker

“We wish to thank the Massachusetts Housing Partnership for its ongoing support of Walker Park Apartments,” said Emilio Dorcely, Urban Edge’s Chief Executive Officer. “Not only will these resources help to support 49 affordable homes for families and individuals living in Egleston Square, they stand as a testament to the vision and hard work of Delphine Walker, whose efforts to improve the neighborhood remain an important touchstone for Roxbury and beyond.”

The $18 million project has been made possible with support from the Commonwealth's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Brookline Bank, the City of Boston, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), MassDevelopment, MassHousing, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, US Bank Corporation, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Enterprise Community Partners. MHP also supported Urban Edge at the beginning with a $25,000 grant to help Urban Edge work with the city and the development team on using lean design techniques, which emphasize collaboration, reliable workflows and resource efficiencies to hold down construction costs.

Founded in 1986 and capitalized as a permanent lender in 1990, MHP’s relationship with Urban Edge dates back to 1993 when it made one off its first loans for the 103-unit Jamaica Plain Apartments. Since then, MHP has made six more loans to Urban Edge for a grand total of $36.9 million for the financing of 373 apartments. The Walker Park Apartments closing comes less than a year after MHP used Federal Housing Administration (FHA) financing to provide Urban Edge with an $18 million loan for the preservation of Wardman Apartments, a four-building, 88-unit apartment complex on Walnut Park and nearby Wardman Street.

Founded in the mid-1970s, Urban Edge owns and manages 1,300 apartments across Boston and has a long history of leadership in the community development field, offering a wide array of programs ranging from credit and homeownership counseling, home improvement programs, youth summer jobs programs and direct services to residents.

About MHP:  MHP offers a variety of capital sources to provide permanent financing for affordable housing, including bank funds and lending programs offered by Fannie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Since 1990, MHP has provided over $1.4 billion for the financing of over 26,000 apartments and has helped over 21,000 low- and moderate-income households buy their first home through the SoftSecond and ONE Mortgage programs, resulting in over $3.7 billion in mortgage financing. MHP has provided support and technical assistance to over 300 communities. In 2017, MHP created the Center for Housing Data to support all its work and promote policies to allow more housing in response to demand.

For more information about Walker Park and MHP’s financing options, contact Senior Loan Officer Amanda Roe at aroe@mhp.net.