MassHousing's Board of Directors voted today to approve a $14.4 million loan commitment to preserve affordability at Mason Place, a 127-unit development for low-income seniors in Boston. The building, which at one time was the home of the Boston Herald and Traveler Newspaper, sits adjacent to Millennium Place in the city's fashionable Ladder District.
BOSTON - December 9, 2003 - MassHousing's Board of Directors voted today to approve a $14.4 million loan commitment to preserve affordability at Mason Place, a 127-unit development for low-income seniors in Boston. The building, which at one time was the home of the Boston Herald and Traveler Newspaper, sits adjacent to Millennium Place in the city's fashionable Ladder District.
This loan commitment caps off over $82 million in financing made by MassHousing for 773 units of affordable and mixed-income housing in the City of Boston in 2003. "To preserve affordability at Mason Place, a development that could easily be converted into high-priced luxury apartments or condominiums, takes a serious commitment of time, effort, and money," said MassHousing Executive Director Thomas R. Gleason. "While it is MassHousing's mission to provide financing, it takes housing partners like Retirement Housing Foundation and Schochet Associates to make the preservation of affordability at Mason Place a reality."
Mason Place consists of 127 units for low-income seniors in one eight-story elevator building located at 80 Mason Street in Boston's Downtown Crossing Neighborhood. The unit mix includes nine studio units, 110 one-bedroom units, and eight two-bedroom units, with 13 of those units handicap accessible. The building, which was constructed during the Great Depression, was converted into rental housing in 1978.
"Mason Place is an important affordable housing asset for the elderly, especially considering the dramatic changes we have seen in the area around Boston Common that are causing residents of limited means to be forced out," said Jay R. Schochet, President of Schochet Associates, Inc. "This transaction, which could not have been completed without MassHousing's expertise and creativity, assures the long-term viability of the project as a key resource for low-income seniors."
MassHousing made a $14.362 million loan commitment to Mason Place RHF Housing, Inc., for the acquisition and rehabilitation of Mason Place in Boston. The owner is a non-profit affiliate of Retirement Housing Foundation, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in California specializing in affordable housing.
In exchange for the financing to acquire Mason Place, the developer will extend the Section 8 contract for 126 units, and maintain 97% of the units as affordable to households with incomes below 60% of the area median income (60% of $80,800 for a two-person household, or $38,760) for 40 years. In addition to the financing commitment from MassHousing, the developer is also requesting the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). The sale of these tax credits is expected to raise an additional $4,627,123 in revenue for the project.
The renovations to Mason Place will include updating and repairs as determined by a capital needs assessment. It is expected that the scope of repairs will include upgrades to the handicap units and community space to meet current code standards and new elevators. The developer of Mason Place is Schochet Associates, Inc. The contractor is Suffolk Construction, Special Projects, and the architect is The Architectural Team. The management company is Foundation Management Company, Inc., which will subcontract to Federal Management Co., Inc., an affiliate of Schochet Associates, Inc.
The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, now doing business as MassHousing, is the leading provider of affordable housing in Massachusetts. Since 1970, MassHousing has provided more than $7.5 billion in financing for more than 79,000 units of mixed-income rental housing and over 43,000 mortgage loans for first-time home buyers. For more information, visit the MassHousing Web site at www.masshousing.com.