BOSTON –MassHousing is providing $50 million in affordable housing financing to Related Companies, to refinance and renovate the Chestnut Park Apartments in downtown Springfield. The MassHousing financing will allow Related to preserve affordability at the 489-unit housing community, while making a significant capital investment in the property. As part of the transaction, Related will create 77 workforce housing units that will be affordable to moderate-income households.
“Related Companies is reinvigorating the Chestnut Park Apartments, bringing substantial capital improvements, greater income diversity, and strong property management practices,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “MassHousing is proud to partner with Related and the City of Springfield on this important project. It will strengthen Springfield’s downtown, and the families who call this apartment community home.”
“The renovations to Chestnut Park Apartments will significantly improve the lives of our residents, and we are thrilled to create 77 workforce housing units for the hardworking families in this city,” said Kimberly Sherman Stamler, President of Related Beal. “Affordable housing is a core piece of Related’s fabric, and we are proud to support the Baker-Polito Administration’s goal of creating new workforce housing units. We are grateful to MassHousing for their significant role in providing financing that will benefit this important downtown Springfield community.”
“I’m very appreciative of Governor Baker’s and MassHousing’s continued commitment to workforce housing,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “This type of initiative is one that empowers individuals and families to be able to provide for a better life for themselves and our community. I’m also deeply appreciative of Related Companies’ belief and investment in our Springfield. They’ve been a very good community partner in assisting us with rebirth of Pynchon Plaza, our downtown police sub-station, and our Springfield Museums.”
MassHousing is supporting the modernization of the Chestnut Park Apartments by providing $45 million in tax-exempt financing through the Agency’s Conduit Loan Program, in partnership with Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo will act as the project’s commercial construction and permanent lender. The MassHousing financing and an allocation of federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) generated $42.4 million in equity financing for the project.
In addition to the MassHousing and tax credit financing, the Chestnut Park transaction is benefitting from $2 million in direct support from DHCD, $500,000 from the city of Springfield, a $2.8 million deferred developer fee and $2 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which MassHousing manages on behalf of DHCD.
MassHousing is additionally providing $5 million in workforce housing financing through the Agency’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative. The MassHousing workforce housing funds will create a new tier of 77 workforce housing units at Chestnut Park. The new workforce housing units will be affordable to moderate-income households, and will create a greater range of income diversity at the site. Related will create the new workforce housing as units become available due to vacancy. No households will be displaced as a result of the financing transaction.
Chestnut Park advances the Baker-Polito Administration’s goal of creating up to 1,000 new workforce housing units affordable to middle-income households through the MassHousing Workforce Housing Initiative. Since the inception of the initiative in 2016, MassHousing has committed or closed workforce housing financing totaling $66 million, to 29 projects, located in 16 cities and towns. To date, the Workforce Housing Initiative has advanced the development of 2,965 housing units across a range of incomes, including 742 workforce housing units.
Of the 489 apartments at Chestnut Park, 412 will remain affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with 241 of those units receiving additional support from a project-based Section 8 rental assistance contract. The remaining 77 units will be workforce housing units, affordable to households earning at or below 85 percent of AMI. The Area Median Income for Springfield is $73,900 for a family of four.
The Chestnut Park Apartments were built in the 1970s under the HUD 236 financing program. The development includes a 33-story tower with a connected four-level parking garage, an 18-story building, a nine-story building and a five-story building with a connected two-level parking garage. The property also includes 19,000 square feet of commercial space. The Chestnut Park Apartments are within walking distance to the MassMutual Center and MGM Springfield Casino and near Springfield’s Innovation, Downtown Business and Museum districts.
Chestnut Park features 207 one-bedroom apartments, 264 two-bedroom apartments, and 18 three-bedroom apartments.
Among the renovations planned for Chestnut Park are unit, streetscape, building envelope and systems upgrades, including the replacement of HVAC systems, windows and elevators. Related Companies also plans to make improvements to communal spaces and building amenities. The modernization project will bring 25 units up to ADA standards for mobility impaired households and 10 units for hearing-impaired households.
MassHousing has financed or manages the rental subsidy for 41 rental housing communities in Springfield with 5,335 total units and an original loan amount of $84 million. The Agency has also made 4,214 home mortgage loans in Springfield with an original principle balance of $298.8 million.