52 New Street Update 05/28/24

Just A Start and Project Partners Break Ground for 52 New Street in Cambridge

Just A Start and project partners celebrated the start of construction today on 52 New Street, which will create 106 new rental homes for residents with various incomes on the site of a vacant building and parking lot in North Cambridge.

Just A Start is developing the new housing in a six-story building that will also include 3,500 square feet of commercial space on the first floor.

"52 New Street will be Just A Start's largest-ever construction project, arriving when Cambridge residents need it most," said Just A Start Executive Director Carl Nagy-Koechlin. "Together with our development partners, we're fostering a brighter future for 106 families in a city with tremendous opportunity, showcasing our unwavering dedication to ensuring access to equitable housing."

"Housing is a crisis across our region and more housing – particularly affordable - is greatly needed," said Cambridge City Manager Yi-An Huang. "This development represents a significant milestone for Cambridge on many levels, as it was the first project permitted under Cambridge's Affordable Housing Overlay. With several others now in the pipeline, affordable housing developers will be able to create new, permanently affordable homes more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas of the city where there are currently fewer affordable housing opportunities. We are thrilled to support Just A Start, MassHousing, and the many partners that are giving more families more opportunities to live and thrive in Cambridge by offering this housing stability."

"We need more housing to help meet the demand and lower costs for Massachusetts residents," said Ed Augustus, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities. "The transformation of this vacant building and parking lot into much-needed rental homes helps meet that demand but it also builds a stronger community. What is now unused space will become more than 100 homes serving a diverse set of incomes. The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities is proud to support this project with both direct support and state and federal low-income housing tax credits."

MassHousing is providing Just A Start with $41.6 million in financing for the project, including $15.4 million in permanent financing, $24.7 million in tax credit equity bridge financing, $1 million in Middle Income Housing financing and $500,000 in Capital Magnet Fund financing.

"MassHousing is excited to be a partner in this effort by Just A Start to replace a vacant building and a parking lot with 106 brand new apartment homes that will provide residents with various incomes the ability to live affordably in Cambridge," said MassHousing CEO Chrystal Kornegay. "Housing in Cambridge is among the most expensive in the state and 52 New Street is going to provide 106 households with housing stability and economic opportunities in greater Cambridge."

Other financing sources include approximately $43 million in tax credit equity from an allocation of state and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC), $4.2 million in direct support from EOHLC, $8.7 million in Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust and Community Development Block Grant financing, $47.5 million in construction financing from Santander Bank, $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act financing through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which MassHousing manages on behalf of EOHLC, $1.3 million in sponsor loans and $57,422 in Solar Tax Credit financing. RBC Community Investments will be the tax credit syndicator.

The contractor is Callahan, Inc., the architect is RODE Architects and the management agent will be the Wingate Management Company LLC. Construction, which began in December, is expected to be completed by the fall of 2025.

"Callahan Construction is honored to be a part of the project team responsible for bringing this much-needed housing development to life," said Steve Callahan, Jr., vice president of business development at Callahan. "Just A Start is a pioneer in creating solutions for Massachusetts families where they need them the most, and the 52 New Street project will change lives for the better for years to come."

"As the first project permitted under Cambridge’s Affordable Housing Overlay, 52 New Street proves that the spirit of that ambitious city initiative can be met with equally transformative design," said Ben Wan, Principal at RODE Architects. "The building will enrich the lives of its residents, with universal accessibility, an array of interior and exterior amenity spaces that engage the neighboring Danehy Fields, and sustainability-centered concepts that meet Passive House energy standards. We’re thrilled to join our partners in breaking ground on this project."

Of the 106 new apartments, 17 will be restricted to households earning up to 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and supported by either a federal Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract (eight apartments) or by the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (nine apartments), 79 apartments will be restricted to households earning up to 60 percent of AMI, and there will be 10 Middle Income housing units for households earning up to 80 percent of AMI. The AMI for Cambridge is $149,300 for a household of four.

There will be 22 one-bedroom apartments, 62 two-bedroom apartments, and 22 three-bedroom apartments. The development will be located adjacent to Danehy Park and within close proximity to the Alewife MBTA station, bus routes, as well as retail, commercial and educational amenities.

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