May 15, 2019
Beacon Communities Completes $13M Renovation at Chatham West in Brockton
Chatham West celebrated the early completion of renovations to a 570-apartment affordable housing development whose residents can also count on their homes remaining affordable for another 10 years, thanks to a public-private partnership between MassHousing and owner Beacon Communities. Beacon Communities started the $13 million renovation last year. Substantial renovations to the building exteriors and apartment systems were completed two years ahead of schedule – in one year rather than three.
At a ribbon-cutting on the property, which was originally built in the early 1970s, MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay praised both Beacon’s work and the joint financing arrangements that will keep the large development affordable.
“Today is a great day for the residents of Chatham West, who not only had their affordable rents preserved for the long term but who are now enjoying the benefits of many improvements to the property,” said Kornegay. “Beacon Communities worked diligently to complete a complex financial transaction that ensured Chatham West’s tenants would still be able to live and prosper there. We commend Beacon for their commitment to preserving the affordability for the residents of Chatham West.”
Beacon Communities CEO Dara Kovel hailed the financing partnership with MassHousing that provided $11.5 million in loans that made it possible to not only stabilize the property but also preserve the affordability of all 570 units for at least the next 10 years. She also thanked Walked & Dunlop and Fannie Mae, which provided new first mortgage debt in this complex transaction.
Kovel said the improvements were vital to the quality of life for residents of the development, and she congratulated the Beacon team on finding ways to speed up the work. It included replacing siding, windows, doors, roofs, boilers, and other major systems, in addition to updating the community center and on-site offices.
Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter said, “We are very happy to support renovations to the Chatham West Apartments by committing $400,000 of Brockton’s Federal HOME funds to this important project. Beacon Communities has been a great partner to the City, providing an accessible, age-friendly and socially inclusive environment. It is our hope that these improvements have a lasting impact on the quality of life for these residents.”
Apr 15, 2019
Preleasing Begins for North Square Apartments at The Mill District in Amherst
With the expected opening of first units this summer, preleasing has started for the apartments at North Square at the Mill District. The project will feature 130 apartments, a mix of one, two and three bedrooms with rents ranging from $1950 through $3175. Resident amenities will include a fitness center, outdoor picnic and grilling gardens, and Pooch Park. The building is located near UMass and Amherst Center.
Jan 29, 2019
Beacon Communities Names New CEO
Dara Kovel succeeds Pam Goodman
Beacon Communities, a national leader in affordable and mixed-income housing development and management, has named Dara Kovel its new CEO. Kovel joined Beacon in 2015 as the President of Beacon Communities Development and succeeds Pam Goodman in a female-to-female leadership transition rare in the industry nationally.
Goodman is retiring after over 20 years of helping to grow Beacon Communities into a large, nationally recognized and diversified multifamily owner/developer, recognized for quality work, its commitment to employees and residents, and for creating a culture of engagement. She will continue to consult with Beacon on a part-time basis. “Obviously, we have worked exceptionally hard to create a great company and I am confident that Dara will continue to focus and expand on what has made us successful.”
Kovel said she hopes to further Beacon’s signature approach to creating quality living environments with programs and services that enrich residents’ lives. “Beacon has created an exceptional track record for improving the lives of residents through creation of quality housing and exceptional property management. I am thrilled to be leading the company into its next era,” said Kovel.
Kovel, a native of New Haven, Connecticut, started her career in California with the non-profit Mercy Housing, led by Sisters of Mercy. “At Mercy I developed my belief that housing is a human right, like food, health care and education,” Kovel said. “This is where the policy and resource conversation should start.”
Kovel came to Beacon from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, where she ran the multifamily and single-family lending and tax credit allocation divisions. She had returned to the East Coast to earn an MBA at Yale University, where she also earned her undergraduate degree in English. She also had worked for Jonathan Rose Companies, a New York real estate development and investment company. Kovel lives in Brookline, MA with her husband and 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.
As President of Beacon’s development company, Kovel has been overseeing the management of major development projects including the recent phases of the redevelopment of Old Colony with the Boston Housing Authority, underway in South Boston, now known as Anne M. Lynch Homes at Old Colony; the rehabilitation of Quincy Tower in Boston; North Square, new construction on an old mill site in Amherst, Massachusetts; and Montgomery Mill, a historic rehabilitation in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
Beacon Communities owns a total of 65 properties in Massachusetts with 8,767 units. In Connecticut, they have 7 properties with 814 units. More information is available upon request.
Nov 19, 2018
Phase III of Old Colony Redevelopment Approved
The third phase of Beacon Communities and Boston Housing's rehab of the Old Colony Housing development in South Boston has been approved. Last week the BPDA approved the project which will replace 250 dated units with 4 new buildings to include 301 residences in total. Phases One and Two of the redevelopment, which include 285 units and a community learning center are fully complete and reoccupied by residents.
Jun 11, 2018
Beacon Communities to Host Groundbreaking at North Square at The Mill District
Beacon Communities will host a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. on June 14 with state and local officials and community members for a long-awaited mixed-use development at North Square at The Mill District.
Located in the heart of the Pioneer Valley and less than a mile from the University of Massachusetts campus, North Square at The Mill District will be a new sustainably designed, mixed-income and mixed-use community surrounding a traditional New England village green. It will provide housing for people who work in Amherst and the immediate area. Of the 130 new apartments, 26 will be set aside for households earning up to 50% of the area median income and the balance will be for workforce and market-rate residents. This pet-friendly community will include new, fully accessible apartments and will have direct access to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) bus system. In addition, North Square will provide commercial retail space for 8-10 new business opportunities, public and private open space, a new children’s play area, and amenities for residents. Construction, as well as permanent jobs, will be created.
“The Town of Amherst and state housing finance agencies have been incredibly supportive of innovative ways to address the challenges of the cost of housing in Massachusetts, where apartment rental and home prices have increased at the fastest rate in the nation,” said Dara Kovel, president of Beacon Communities Development. “They have supported public private partnerships and practical approaches to expanding the supply of housing to control costs and improve communities,” she said. North Square at The Mill District was made possible in partnership with The Town of Amherst, Department of Housing and Community Development, Boston Community Loan Fund, US Bank, and MassHousing Partnership (MHP).
The project is located on the current site of a sawmill on land owned by the W.D. Cowls family. Every generation since 1741 has redeveloped this site to suit the needs of that generation of the Cowls family. With a nod to the sawmill that was once the center of activity, the area is known as “The Mill District – Eats, Art & Entertainment.” This pedestrian-friendly destination with a mix of retail, restaurants, services, and proximity to the Mill River Recreation Area will be a hub of activity for Amherst residents.
The first building will be ready for residents and commercial tenants in summer 2019.
May 25, 2018
North Square Project Receives Funding
Beacon Communities mixed-use project coming to Amherst has received additional funding of $53,386,544 million via multiple mortgages.
The upcoming development will be a new sustainably-designed, mixed-use and mixed-income community located on 5.3 acres three miles north of downtown Amherst, MA.
The project will construct two new buildings around a vibrant, new public square and will include a total of 130 new apartment residences and 22,000 square feet of first-floor retail, in addition to parking, open space and a playground.
Jan 10, 2018
Amherst mixed-use development will move forward following tax credit and funding approval
Beacon Communities plans to break ground on its' North Square at The Mill District mixed-use and mixed-income development in North Amherst, MA this Spring following state approval of tax credits and funding that will allow the project to proceed. The tax credits will yield Beacon an overall tax benefit of $2.7 million, and funding will be provided by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The awards will allow for the creation of 26 new affordable apartment residences (20% of total apartment count) on site. Affordable apartments will be rented to households earning up to 50% of area median income (AMI). The $47.5 million North Square at The Mill District will construct a total of 130 apartments and 22,000 square feet of retail.
Dec 18, 2016
Quincy Tower Chinatown affordable housing rehabilitation project approved
The Quincy Tower Rehabilitation Project was approved at Thursday (December 15th)’s Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board Meeting. Located in Chinatown, the $71 million project will rehabilitate the existing 16-story Quincy Tower, which will continue to contain 162 age-restricted affordable housing units. Construction is expected to commence imminently and will last approximately 11 months.