Friday, July 27, 2018
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash visited Chestnut Park, an affordable housing development in downtown Springfield, and celebrated the news it would receive an affordable rental housing award, announced by Governor Charlie Baker Wednesday.
Located in downtown Springfield, Chestnut Park was built in the 1970s and is comprised of four buildings offering 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments for 489 low-income households. The original building, which is home to over 1,500 people, will be preserved and rehabilitated by project sponsor Related Beal. When completed, 412 units will be affordable to households earning less than 60 percent of area median income (AMI), with 42 units further restricted for households earning less than 30 percent of AMI. The state will support Chestnut Park with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy funds. The City of Springfield also will provide support for Chestnut Park.
In addition to Chestnut Park, projects in Great Barrington, Holyoke, and Northampton were included in Governor Baker’s announcement. These four projects in Western Massachusetts represent the creation and preservation of over 600 units.
“More people are employed in Massachusetts than at any point in our history, and we need a housing market that can support working families at all income levels so that they can fully participate in this economy,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Projects like Chestnut Park will provide affordable housing essential to Springfield’s vision for economic growth and renewal. The awards Governor Baker announced today help increase options for families to access safe, affordable, and stable housing, a critical foundation for success and prosperity, both for themselves and for communities like Springfield.”
“Who says bi-partisanship and public/private partnerships are dead – not here in Springfield, our state or with our business community. I am very thankful to Governor Baker, Secretary Ash, our local delegation and my City team in working together to turn around a challenging building complex, soon to be a model for workforce and affordable housing for our Springfield residents and business community,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “Many thanks go to Jeff Brodsky and his team from Related Beal for their belief and investment in our Springfield. Again, to Governor Baker and Secretary Ash – they’ve been great friends to me and Springfield. I look forward to continuing to work with them for many years to come as we continue to move Springfield and our Commonwealth forward.”
“Springfield has been transforming rapidly over these past few years,” said Senator James T. Welch. “So far the majority of this transformation has been concentrated in the downtown area. I’m thrilled to see the benefits of these revitalization efforts are now percolating through to improve housing for our residents.”
"Springfield is experiencing an economic boom and we must continue to support affordable housing initiatives like Chestnut Tower to ensure the people of Springfield will be able to afford to live and work in Springfield," said Representative Carlos Gonzalez.
“Springfield is in the midst of a downtown revival, and Chestnut Park is at the center of some exciting developments, including the renovation of Pynchon Plaza that will reconnect Main Street to the Museum District,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser. “Chestnut Park provides much-needed housing to nearly 500 households, and this renovation will deliver yet another transformation in the heart of Downtown Springfield.”
“This is just another example of the collaboration between The City and the Baker-Polito Administration working together for the benefit of all our citizens and municipalities,” said Representative José F. Tosado. “Springfield is in the midst of a re-birth and affordable housing is a major component of the City’s comeback.”
“Thank you to Jay Ash and Mayor Sarno for recognizing and addressing the need for more affordable housing in Springfield,” said Representative Michael Finn. “Affordable housing is an important asset to any community. We need to make sure working families have a safe and affordable place to live, and I am glad Springfield will be taking steps in the right direction to provide this accommodation.”
“When we took over this development last year, we committed to improving its conditions and enhancing the community,” said Jeff Brodsky, vice chairman of Related Companies. “Through this partnership with the City of Springfield and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we are excited to begin a much-needed, large-scale renovation that will add workforce units, preserve long-term affordability, and transform Chestnut Park into a thriving mixed-income community in the heart of a revitalized downtown Springfield.”
Since 2015, affordable housing awards have led to the creation and preservation of more than 6,300 housing units alone, furthering the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to increasing access to affordable and middle-income housing in every region of the Commonwealth.
This year’s affordable rental housing awards continue to advance the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to substantially increasing housing production throughout the Commonwealth, with an emphasis on housing affordable to low- and middle-income households. Since 2015, the administration has spent or committed more than $880 million for the production and preservation of affordable housing.
In May, Governor Baker signed a $1.8 billion affordable housing bill to ensure long-term support for the Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive efforts to increase the production of affordable housing, diversify the state’s housing portfolio, modernize public housing, preserve the affordability of existing housing and invest in new, innovative solutions to address Massachusetts’ rising demand for housing.
In December 2017, Governor Baker announced the Housing Choice Initiative, a comprehensive proposal to create 135,000 new housing units by 2025 with new set of incentives and rewards for municipalities committed to sustainable housing growth in their communities. The Housing Choice Initiative is a multi-pronged effort that includes a program to designate Housing Choice municipalities and new technical assistance opportunities through MassHousing, in addition to proposed legislative changes that will help deliver smart, effective zoning at the local level. The legislation, An Act to Promote Housing Choice is currently pending before the legislature.
Additionally, the highly effective MassWorks Infrastructure Program continues to be a key catalyst for housing production, supporting the creation of more than 3,000 housing units. The Open for Business Initiative will drive the production of more than 2,200 units of housing on state land. MassHousing’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative has advanced the development of 2,374 housing units across a range of incomes, including 631 workforce housing units. And, the Baker-Polito Administration reformed the Housing Development Incentive Program, which is on track to facilitate more than 900 new units in Gateway Cities.
Chestnut Park (Springfield) is a 489-unit preservation project in Springfield sponsored by Related Beal. The existing project, home to over 1,500 people, will be preserved and rehabilitated. When completed, 412 units will be affordable to households earning less than 60 percent of AMI, with 42 units further restricted for households earning less than 30 percent of AMI. DHCD will support Chestnut Park with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy funds. The City of Springfield also will provide support for Chestnut Park.
Bentley Apartments (Great Barrington) is a 45-unit new construction project for families in Great Barrington. The sponsor is the non-profit Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire. All 45 units in the completed project will be reserved for households earning less than 60 percent of AMI, with 21 units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of AMI. DHCD will support Bentley Apartments with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy funds. The Town of Great Barrington will provide additional Community Preservation Act funds to the project.
Lyman Terrace Phase II (Holyoke) is the second phase of the comprehensive redevelopment of the Lyman Terrace public housing development in Holyoke. The sponsor is the non-profit The Community Builders (TCB). The completed project will offer 79 units of family housing reserved for households earning less than 60 percent of AMI, with 16 units reserved for households earning less than 30 percent of AMI. DHCD will support this phase of Lyman Terrace with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy funds. The Baker-Polito Administration has previously supporting the redevelopment through affordable housing awards and the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. The City of Holyoke will provide additional subsidy to the project.
Sargent House Expansion (Northhampton) is a blended preservation and production project located on the edge of Northampton’s vibrant downtown business district. The sponsor is the non-profit Valley Community Development Corporation. The completed project will feature 31 total units. All units will be affordable to individuals earning less than 60 percent of AMI, with 10 units reserved for individuals earning less than 30 percent of AMI. Many tenants at Sargent House previously were homeless; Valley CDC will provide supportive services appropriate for the existing and new tenants. DHCD will support the project with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and subsidy funds. The City of Northampton also will support the project with some of its own funds.
See Affordable Rental Housing announcement for full list of awardees.