BOSTON – MassHousing has closed on $9.5 million in affordable housing financing to the non-profit Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative, Inc. and Taunton Revitalization, Inc., to support the construction of a new 40-unit housing community for lower-income senior citizens at the former Walker School in Taunton.
The Walker School will involve the redevelopment of the vacant, former school into 40 new one-bedroom apartments. The school building will contain 16 apartments and the development team will build an addition containing 24 apartments.
“This transaction is going to transform a vacant, former school, into new and vibrant housing for seniors that will serve lower-income residents of Taunton for many years to come,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “We were pleased to partner with the city and the development team in turning an empty school into 40 new rental homes that will each bring new life and purpose to a historic building.”
The project is also receiving $13.8 million in equity financing through allocations of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and federal Historic Tax Credits, and $3.69 million in equity financing from the allocations of state LIHTCs and state Historic Tax Credits syndicated by Boston Financial Investment Management.
The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which allocated the federal and state LIHTCs, is also contributing $2.6 million in direct affordable housing subsidy. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which MassHousing manages on behalf of DHCD, contributed $1 million to the project, while the City of Taunton is providing $200,000 in financing.
“AHSC is extremely proud to be partners with Taunton Revitalization, Inc. on this meaningful project. Walker School has been a very important property in the lives of Taunton residents for over a century, and now it will continue to play a vital role as affordable housing with supportive services for elders, many of whom may have once attended the school as a student,” said AHSC Executive Director Michael J. Mattos.
“The Walker School project represented a tremendous opportunity to transform a historical building in the City of Taunton,” said Taunton Revitalization, Inc. President of the Board of Directors, Alan J. Pelletier. “It is taking a blighted property within our community and turning it into viable and sustainable housing with supportive services in place. Creating and preserving affordable housing is at the core of TRI’s mission. This is a shining example of what a private-public partnership should look like and I’m grateful to all involved.”
The City of Taunton, through a request for proposals, selected AHSC and TRI to redevelop the school property at 135 Berkley St. The development will also include indoor and outdoor recreational space, and office space for management, maintenance and resident service staff. The property is located near the Weir Village Riverfront Park and the Taunton River, and serviced by the Greater Taunton Regional Transit Authority bus line, which provides access to regional stores and amenities.
All 40 apartments will be supported by a federal Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment subsidy for very low-income households earning at or below 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) (16 units) or 50 percent of AMI (24 units). The median income for a household of two in Taunton is $84,100.
The contractor is NEI General Contracting. The architect is The Architectural Team and the management agent is Peabody Properties.
MassHousing has financed four rental housing communities in Taunton involving 236 units of housing and $26.4 million in total financing. The Agency has additionally provided $181.4 million in financing to 1,380 Taunton homebuyers or homeowners who have refinanced their homes.