Mass Housing Update 10/24/23

MassHousing Announces $44.6 Million in CommonWealth Builder Awards for Six Projects that will Result in 220 New Homes for Moderate-Income, First-Time Homebuyers

MassHousing announced today that it has closed on a total of $44.6 million in financing for six new homeownership development projects. The funding, awarded through the Agency’s CommonWealth Builder Program, will create 220 new affordable homes for moderate-income, first-time homebuyers, in communities of color.

The six awarded projects are: Acre Crossing in Lowell, 120-122 Hancock Street in Dorchester, 270 Talbot Avenue in Dorchester, the Northampton Residences in Roxbury, the Preserve at Olmsted Green in Mattapan, and Stonley Brookley in Jamaica Plain.

The CommonWealth Builder Program is a landmark initiative to address the racial homeownership gap in Massachusetts by creating new homeownership and wealth-building opportunities in communities of color. It is the largest state-level program of its kind in the nation and provides market-based subsidies to support the construction of new, moderately priced, single-family homes and condominiums in the City of Boston, the state’s 26 Gateway Cities, Framingham and Randolph. The program subsidizes the production of homes restricted to homebuyers with incomes set anywhere between 70 percent to 120 percent of their Area Median Income (AMI).

"MassHousing is proud to support investment in homeownership and wealth-building opportunities for people that were denied homebuying opportunities in the past," said MassHousing CEO Chrystal Kornegay. "We commend the cities of Boston and Lowell and our mission-driven development partners for advancing these six exciting developments, and we look forward to welcoming 220 first-time homebuyers into their new affordable homes."

"The CommonWealth Builder Program is a key component of MassHousing’s broader efforts to promote sustainable homeownership across Massachusetts," said MassHousing Board Chair Jeanne Pinado. "By encouraging homeownership production in underserved neighborhoods, and creating new mortgage solutions for first-time homebuyers, we are investing in communities, and creating new opportunities for generational wealth creation."

Massachusetts has the sixth-largest racial homeownership gap the United States. Across the nation, approximately 46 percent of households of color own their own home, compared to just 34 percent in Massachusetts. The homeownership gap between white and nonwhite residents in Massachusetts has helped drive significant disparities in household wealth. The CommonWealth Builder Program is a double-bottom-line initiative. It grows the Commonwealth’s stock of moderately priced starter homes, while advancing intergenerational wealth building in underserved communities.

MassHousing’s Homeownership Division also supports CommonWealth Builder with a combination of mortgage financing for homebuyersdown payment assistance loans, mortgage insurance with job-loss protection at no added cost, and targeted marketing in the Gateway Cities to ensure that borrowers of color are made aware of this new opportunity for homeownership.

Since the program launched in 2021, MassHousing has committed a total of $68.7 million to 14 CommonWealth Builder projects across Massachusetts. These projects will create a total of 368 new homeownership opportunities, including 341 new affordable homes for first-time homebuyers. The CommonWealth Builder Program is funded by state capital funds and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding allocated by the Massachusetts Legislature.

The Commonwealth's Gateway Cities are Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield and Worcester.

The latest projects with CommonWealth Builder funding are:

120-122 Hancock Street, Dorchester, $2.35 million

Urbanica, Inc. is redeveloping two vacant lots into 15 homeownership units for moderate-income homebuyers in a new, four-story building. There will be three one-bedroom homes and 12 two-bedroom homes. Three of the homes will be handicapped accessible. All new homes at 120-122 Hancock Street will be affordable and sold to first-time homebuyers. The development will also include community space and bicycle storage and is within walking distance to the MBTA Savin Hill subway station and multiple bus lines. The Mayor's Office of Housing (MOH) is providing $2.25 million in financing to the project and Leader Bank is providing $3.9 million in construction financing.

270 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, $4.7 million

TLee Development LLC will redevelop two Dorchester parcels, demolishing former car repair garages and landscaping storage space to construct a new, four-story building with 18 affordable homeownership units for moderate-income homebuyers. There will be three studio homes, nine one-bedroom homes, three two-bedroom homes, and three three-bedroom homes. Three of the homes will be handicapped accessible. The development will also include ground-floor retail space, community space, and bicycle storage.

Acre Crossing, Lowell, $8 million

Soucy Industries is creating 32 new homeownership units for homebuyers with moderate incomes on a vacant lot at 650 Merrimack St., in Lowell. The homes will be contained in two new, four- and five-story brick buildings, with 24 two-bedroom homes and eight three-bedroom homes. Other financing includes $14 million in construction financing from Enterprise Bank and $763,000 in Community Preservation Act funding from the City of Lowell.

Northampton Street Residences, Roxbury/South End, $11.8 million

THR Acquisition, LLC, an affiliate of Transom Real Estate and Harbor Run Development, will develop a former parking lot at 597-599 Columbus Ave. into 47 homeownership units for moderate-income homebuyers in a new, five-story building with 16 studio homes, 19 one-bedroom homes, seven two-bedroom homes, and five three-bedroom homes. One home will be handicapped accessible, and the development will also include community space and bicycle storage. The parcel, located near the Massachusetts Avenue MBTA subway station, was conveyed to the developer as part of a series of transactions that renovated and preserved the Newcastle Saranac affordable housing community. Other financing sources include $21.1 million in construction financing from Eastern Bank and $4 million from the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation's Health Neighborhoods Equity Fund.

The Preserve at Olmsted Green, Mattapan, $7.7 million

The New Boston Fund and Lena Park Community Development Corporation are developing The Preserve at Olmsted Green, an 80-unit homeownership development for homebuyers with a range of incomes. The project is the final phase of the redevelopment of the former state hospital property in Mattapan that began in 2006. CommonWealth Builder financing involves 63 of the 80 homes, which will be deed-restricted and affordable to moderate-income homebuyers. Overall, there will be 60 two-bedroom homes and 20 three-bedroom homes. Other financing sources included $5.1 million from Boston’s MOH, $21 million in construction financing from Eastern Bank, $6 million in financing from BlueHub Capital, $1.8 million in developer equity, and $750,000 from Boston's Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund.

Stonley Brookley, Jamaica Plain, $10 million

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and Causeway Development LLC will redevelop a former light industrial parcel at 10 Stonley Road into a new, four-story building with 45 homeownership units for moderate-income homebuyers. JPNDC and Causeway Development will construct the new building to Passive House standards. The development will feature 10 studio homes, 23 one-bedroom homes, nine two-bedroom homes and three three-bedroom homes. Five homes will be handicapped accessible, and there will be bicycle storage space. Other financing sources include $10.8 million in construction financing from the Property and Casualty Initiative and the Life Initiative, $3.75 million from Boston's MOH, and $160,000 in Mass Save incentives. 

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