Massachusetts notched another win this month in its continued efforts to preserve affordable housing. On April 10th, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) announced that it had committed over $8.5 million in financing to Fenway Community Development Corporation (Fenway CDC) to purchase and preserve Burbank Gardens, an existing affordable housing development located in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston. This residence is one of many 13A properties whose 40 year mortgage will reach maturity in March 2018, risking tenant displacement and loss of affordable housing. Fenway CDC closed on the purchase of the property on the same day.
In 2009, the Massachusetts legislature passed into law Chapter 40T. This law has given the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and CEDAC tools to monitor and address the expiring use challenge. Among the most important provisions of Chapter 40T are purchase rights to allow DHCD or its designated agent to acquire and preserve these expiring affordable housing projects if an owner offers to sell a building.
When the seller of Burbank Gardens put the property on the market in early 2016, Fenway CDC was designated by DHCD through Chapter 40T to purchase and preserve the 52-unit residence. The seller accepted Fenway CDC’s offer in September 2016.
“Preserving Burbank Gardens is an important step in the Commonwealth’s ongoing efforts to maintaining affordable housing,” said CEDAC’s Executive Director Roger Herzog. “It demonstrates once again that the innovative Chapter 40T law remains an effective tool and is a national model for preserving quality affordable housing.”
Fenway CDC, established in 1973, is a membership organization that builds and preserves affordable housing and champions local projects to protect the neighborhood’s economic and racial diversity as well as its long term vibrancy. The organization also provides social services, workforce development programs, financial literacy assistance, health programs, and adult education. They have developed nearly 500 affordable homes that house about 1,500 people, including seniors, families, and people living with disabilities.
With the acquisition of Burbank Gardens, Fenway CDC plans to ensure that 51 of the 52 apartments remain affordable for low and moderate income households. The property currently consists of 52 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. CEDAC provided a $313,000 predevelopment loan and, with participation by Eastern Bank, an $8,268,525 acquisition loan to Fenway CDC for this important preservation effort.
“CEDAC was thrilled to work with a mission-driven non-profit to preserve this crucial affordable housing resource,” said Bill Brauner, CEDAC’s Director of Housing Preservation and Policy. “The involvement of public sector agencies, including MassHousing, the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development and DHCD, was crucial to this transaction.”
Click here to read more about the expiring use challenge and CEDAC’s work in producing and preserving affordable housing.