Building on the City of Boston’s commitment to preserving affordable housing in Boston, on June 7, Chief Housing Officer and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing, Sheila Dillon, joined the Fenway Community Development Corporation (CDC) , their development partner Schochet Companies, and South End/Residents of Lower Roxbury to celebrate the groundbreaking of renovations that have preserved 97 affordable homes at Newcastle Saranac Apartments located on Columbus Avenue and Northampton Street in South End/Lower Roxbury.
“I’m proud that together with our partners, we were able to save the rentals of the people who live here,” said Sheila Dillon. “We are continually devising new programs and strategies to help tenants in Boston, and I am proud that the Acquisition Opportunity Program has helped preserve these affordable homes. This is a huge success for this neighborhood, and I look forward to continuing to work with Fenway CDC, MassHousing, and other partners here today to protect and preserve Boston’s affordable housing stock. Together, we have protected these residents from displacement and revitalized the character of this building while preserving affordability in this community. »
“It took the City of Boston, the Commonwealth and many quasi-public entities, banks and investors to save these apartments,” said Leah Camhi, executive director of Fenway CDC. “Families in Newcastle Saranac are guaranteed affordable homes for years to come thanks to all their Herculean efforts.”
“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Fenway CDC to preserve and rehabilitate this critical and affordable housing resource,” said Richard Henken, president of Schochet Companies. “None of this could have been done without the incredible support and creativity of the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, CEDAC and the Boston Housing Authority.
In 2019, with 13A accessibility restrictions on the property expiring, the Mayor’s Housing Office worked with Fenway CDC and Schochet companies to acquire the building and fund renovations to its 97 units. Support from the City of Boston’s Acquisition Opportunity Program enabled Fenway CDC to purchase the building, protecting existing tenants from displacement and preserving the long-term affordability of this mixed-income property. Without this long-term preservation strategy, the entire property risked being converted into market-to-market housing, with only minimal protections for current tenants.
Launched in 2017, the City of Boston’s Acquisition Opportunity Program offers affordable housing developers the opportunity to pre-qualify for a fixed amount of financing, allowing them to be more competitive in the evolving real estate market. Boston fast. The Acquisition Opportunity Program has been successful in acquiring at-risk housing units on the open market, preserving leases and creating new long-term low-income housing.
Of the 97 units, 82 are affordable to households with an income of 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), with eight of these units supported by Section 8 Housing Benefit based on the project and 30 supported by vouchers from the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. 69 housing units are affordable for households whose income is equal to or less than 60% of the AMI.
Renovations to the Newcastle Saranac apartments included major masonry repairs, roof and window replacement, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, and overhauls to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
“The affordability of these apartments to nearly 100 households, unlike market-priced housing rents in the area, has made their preservation particularly critical to maintaining the vibrancy and diversity of the neighborhood,” said the director. general of MassHousing, Chrystal Kornegay. “Through an intense collaborative effort from the Commonwealth, the City of Boston, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation, the Fenway CDC, the Schochet Companies and especially the residents of Newcastle Saranac, the community has seen these affordable homes preserved and considerably renovated. ”
The acquisition and preservation of this building was made possible through significant support from the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) Inclusive Development Program, the Department of Housing, and the Community Development (DHCD), MassDevelopment, MassHousing, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corp (MHIC), and the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC).
Mayor Michelle Wu believes that increasing affordable housing options is the foundation for an equitable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In this regard, it recently announced studies to assess current levels of link and inclusion fee development and updated transfer fee legislation. She launched an audit of city-owned properties and recently announced the creation of a rent stabilization advisory group, led by the mayor’s housing office. Updated transfer fee legislation, if passed by the Massachusetts Legislature, would give Boston the ability to implement a transfer fee of up to 2% of the purchase price of any private real estate sale of more than 2 million dollars in order to generate additional funds for affordable prices. lodging.
Mayor Wu’s Housing Security Legislative Package offers new tools in addition to strengthening current tools to leverage Boston’s prosperity and create sustainable wealth opportunities that make Boston a more inclusive and equitable city. The proposed housing security bills aim to help tenants, especially older people, stay in their homes and create additional funds for the renovation of affordable housing estates like Newcastle Saranac apartments.
About the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH)
The Mayor’s Housing Office is responsible for housing people who are homeless, creating and maintaining affordable housing, and ensuring that tenants and landlords can obtain, maintain and remain in safe and stable housing. The department develops and implements the City of Boston’s housing creation and homelessness prevention plans and works with local and national partners to find new solutions and build more affordable housing for all, especially for low-income people. For more information, please visit the Ministry of Health website.
About Fenway Community Development Corporation
Fenway CDC is a 49-year-old organization that works to preserve Fenway as a vibrant and diverse neighborhood by developing affordable housing, providing life-enriching programs, and ensuring community voices shape communities. neighborhood decisions. Fenway CDC helps community members not only find affordable housing, jobs, and educational opportunities, but also access fresh food, financial coaching, and wellness programs. The CDC’s community planning and organizing efforts advocate for policies that address housing insecurity and the shortage of affordable housing across the city.
About Schochet companies
The Schochet Companies is a full-service property development and management company founded by Jay R. Schochet over forty years ago. Since then, the company has developed, owned and/or managed over 7,000 apartments, most of which are affordable, and over 600,000 square feet of commercial and retail space throughout New England and the West Coast. Today, Schochet Companies owns and/or manages over 5,000 apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial space throughout New England. Based in Braintree, the company employs over 170 people. For more information about Schochet, please visit www.schochet.com.