Boston Affordable Senior Portfolio Lands $136M Refi

Symphony Plaza, Boston

By Beata Lorincz

Symphony Plaza, Boston

MassHousing has provided $135.5 in financing to an affiliate of the nonprofit Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) for the renovation of Symphony Plaza, a two-building affordable senior community in Boston. The refinancing was completed through the Federal Housing Administration’s Housing Tax Credit Pilot Program, while the property’s affordability status was extended for a minimum of 30 years.

The two-building portfolio comprises Symphony Plaza East and West, located at 333 and 334 Massachusetts Ave., on opposite sides of the avenue. The 14- and 16-story constructions date back to 1980 and are situated next to the Boston Symphony Hall, on the southern edge of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.

According to Yardi Matrix, Symphony Plaza East offers 188 units, while Symphony Plaza West comprises 216 apartments. The properties total 116 studios, 260 one-bedroom and 28 two-bedroom apartments.

Significant renovations

MassHousing, together with lender partner Rockport Mortgage Corp., provided a $74.5 million permanent loan through the Agency’s Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP)/Ginnie Mae Joint Venture Initiative. MassHousing further originated $61 million in short-term tax-exempt construction financing to facilitate the use of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

The Symphony Plaza transaction also involved roughly $40.3 million in tax credit equity, a $20 million bridge loan from Wells Fargo and an $8.1 million seller note. The FHA’s Housing Tax Credit Pilot Program allows borrowers to utilize federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) in combination with an affordable fast-track mortgage product insured by the FHA. The program enabled the property owner to deploy approximately $14.5 million in tax credit equity toward renovations. The tax credits, together with a mortgage insured by FHA and guaranteed by Ginnie Mae, will allow for significant on-site improvements.

Upgrades to the multifamily portfolio include:

  • new windows
  • fire alarm
  • HVAC system
  • electrical system improvements
  • new entry doors
  • upgrades of common areas
  • kitchens and bathrooms improvements in apartments

The Schochet Cos. provided development consulting and its affiliate, Federal Management Co. Inc., is the property manager for Symphony Plaza. 

Earlier this month, Masshousing provided construction financing for another Boston-area affordable housing community in Lawrence, Mass. The 102-unit project represents the adaptive reuse of the historic Van Brodie Mill.

Image courtesy of Yardi Matrix

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