MassHousing Closes on $22.6 Million to Renovate and Reconstruct 112 Affordable Units in Cambridge

50 York Street

BOSTON –  MassHousing has closed on $22.6 million in financing for the nonprofit developer Just-A-Start Corporation (JAS) for the acquisition and renovation of 112 affordable apartments in Cambridge, including the new construction of a 16-unit building at 50 York St. that was destroyed in a devastating, 10-alarm fire in December 2016.

The MassHousing financing allows Just-A-Start to invest $17 million in a comprehensive renovation and modernization of the scattered-site portfolio, which consists of 20 low-rise, mid-rise, and townhouse apartment buildings, located on 10 sites throughout Cambridge. All 112 rental units will be affordable to households earning at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which is $62,040 for a family of four.

“We were pleased to provide financing to preserve and modernize this very important affordable housing resource in Cambridge, which is one of the most expensive rental housing in the country,” said MassHousing Acting Executive Director Tom Lyons. “Just-A-Start, the City of Cambridge, and the Baker-Polito Administration were committed to making sure that these apartments not only remained affordable to lower-income residents and working families, but also to ensure that these properties received the significant improvements needed to keep them livable for years to come. The 16 families who lost everything in the massive 2016 fire will have the opportunity to return to a brand-new building, where they will be able to live and prosper as they had before their lives were turned upside down.”

50 York Street

MassHousing has committed a $10.1 million permanent loan and a $12.5 million bridge loan. Other financing sources for the $45.6 million transaction include $14.2 million in equity generated through an allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, a $3.8 million Just-A-Start seller note, a $5.2 million sponsor loan, $10.1 million in assumed subordinate debt, a $540,000 loan from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority and a $435,000 deferred developer fee. JP Morgan Chase is providing $22.6 million in construction financing.

“This project demonstrates the power of a caring community to support the timely replacement of the homes lost in the 2016 fire. Now, more than ever, the housing preserved with this project is essential to the health and stability to these Cambridge families,’’ said Just-A-Start executive Director Deborah Ruhe.

Forty-one of the 112 units are supported by a federal Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment contract. There are 17 one-bedroom apartments, 40 two-bedroom apartments, 45 three-bedroom apartments and 10 four-bedroom apartments.

The contractor is NEI General Contracting. The architect is Winslow Architects and the management agent is Maloney Properties.

MassHousing has financed or administers the subsidy contract for 14 rental communities in Cambridge, for a total of 2,051 housing units and an original loan amount of $135.5 million and provided $68.5 million in financing to 550 Cambridge homebuyers or homeowners.