CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MassDevelopment has issued a $10,345,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Putnam School Apartments LLC, an affiliate of Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA), which will use proceeds to buy and renovate Putnam School Apartments, a 33-unit affordable housing facility serving seniors and individuals with disabilities.
A historic schoolhouse built in 1890, the building was converted into the Putnam School Apartments in 1983; most of the housing units have not been updated since. Renovations will include reconfiguring units; addressing major systems, including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and ventilation; installing new heating and central air conditioning; replacing hot/cold, sanitary, vent, and storm piping; replacing sewer mains to the street; extending the sprinkler system into apartments; and completing major upgrades to the fire alarm system and upgrades to kitchen and bath flooring, lighting, cabinets, counters, fixtures, and appliances. Bond proceeds will also be used to convert bathtubs to walk-in showers to support aging in place. Silicon Valley Bank purchased the bond.
Putnam School Apartments currently includes 24 one-bedroom units and three congregate units (with three separate housing units per congregate unit). As part of the renovations, the congregate units and underutilized spaces will be converted into eight one-bedroom and two two-bedroom units. The unit mix post-rehabilitation will total 32 one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units. All units are affordable to households earning up to 60% of the area median income ($80,520 for a family of four).
“All residents of public housing, including seniors and people with disabilities, deserve facilities that provide a stable and supportive living environment,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “MassDevelopment’s low-cost financing solutions are a valuable resource for public housing authorities and other housing developers eager to modernize infrastructure and extend the life of aging buildings.”
“This investment ensures that the Putnam School Apartments will remain a safe and accessible home for seniors and people with disabilities for years to come,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “MassDevelopment is proud of our long partnership with Cambridge Housing Authority and pleased that we can play a role in preserving these affordable housing units.”
In addition to the tax-exempt bond, MassDevelopment assisted the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development with the approval of federal low-income housing tax credits that will provide approximately $7 million in equity for the project.
“We are honored to once again collaborate with MassDevelopment, the Cambridge Housing Authority, Eastern Bank, Citizens Bank, and the other project financing partners to renovate this historic building and preserve it as affordable housing in Cambridge,” said Silicon Valley Bank Managing Director of Community Development Peter Hollands. “Affordable housing that adequately supports seniors and those with disabilities is critically important in our communities and these upgrades will make the Putnam School Apartments a permanent, safe, affordable, and accessible environment for its residents.”
“I am thrilled that MassDevelopment is issuing funds and working with Cambridge Housing Authority to renovate Putnam School Apartments,” said Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui. “Building and maintaining high quality affordable units is one of the highest priorities in Cambridge and we are only able to meet our goals with the help of our partners.”
MassDevelopment has previously provided financing for several Cambridge Housing Authority facilities. In April 2021, MassDevelopment issued an $18.7 million tax-exempt bond to help CHA buy, renovate, and preserve the Harry S. Truman Apartments, a 59-unit affordable rental housing facility serving seniors and disabled individuals; in September 2020, the agency issued an $8.1 million tax-exempt bond to help CHA buy and renovate 78-80 Porter Road Apartments, a 26-unit affordable multifamily rental housing facility; in June 2020, the agency issued a $30.5 million tax-exempt bond to help CHA renovate and preserve Roosevelt Towers Low Rise, a 112-unit affordable multifamily rental housing facility; in April 2016, the agency issued a $42 million tax-exempt bond to help CHA buy and renovate the Frank J. Manning Apartments, a 204-unit affordable rental housing facility primarily serving the elderly and disabled; in March 2016, the agency issued a $30.8 million tax-exempt bond to help CHA demolish and reconstruct Jefferson Park, a 108-unit affordable multifamily housing development; in April 2015, the agency issued $104 million in tax-exempt bonds to help CHA preserve 511 affordable housing units at three affordable multifamily housing developments; and in September 2010, the agency issued a $30 million tax-exempt bond to help CHA renovate Jackson Gardens, a 45-unit affordable housing facility, and demolish and reconstruct Lincoln Way, a 70-unit affordable housing facility.
“The number one strategic goal of the Cambridge Housing Authority is the modernization of our existing, deeply affordable, housing stock,” said Cambridge Housing Authority Executive Director Michael Johnston. “It is only through partnerships like this, that we can achieve our goal. With affordable housing in this state and across the country in steep demand, MassDevelopment’s partnership over the past 11 years has assured that over 1,150 deeply affordable apartments will remain available for many years to come.”
Established under state law on December 9, 1935, the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) provides long-term rental housing and rental assistance to more than 7,000 low-income families, elders, and disabled individuals through its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programs. CHA invests in Cambridge families and provides enhanced support to almost 12% of the city’s population. By tailoring its approach to focus on policy innovation and family economic opportunities, the organization is able to meet its mission to develop and manage safe, quality, affordable housing for low-income individuals and families in a manner that promotes citizenship, community, and self-reliance in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.
MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2021, MassDevelopment financed or managed 416 projects generating investment of more than $1.86 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 6,578 jobs and build or preserve 1,909 housing units.