Boston-Area Affordable Development Lands $23M Loan

The financing includes funds from MassHousing's $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative. Just-A-Start intends to create 23 new apartments and preserve 65 units for low-income residents in Cambridge.
Renderings of Squirrelwood. Images courtesy of MassHousing
Renderings of Squirrelwood. Images courtesy of MassHousing

Nonprofit Just-A-Start Corp. has received $22.8 million for Squirrelwood, an 88-unit affordable housing project in Cambridge, Mass. Plans call for the new construction of 23 apartments and the renovation and preservation of affordability of 65 existing units. MassHousing closed on the financing, Callahan Construction Managers is the contractor for the project, Davis Square Architects provides architecture services and Maloney Properties is the management agent.

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JAS intends to combine the 45-unit Linwood Court and 20-unit Squirrel Brand affordable housing communities and build 23 new affordable units on a lot of its Linwood Court property. The existing units are spread across 10 buildings on three parcels located within block of each other. Overall, Squirrelwood is slated to encompass three studios, 14 one-, 32 two-, 35 three-bedroom, as well as four- and five-bedroom apartments.

The nonprofit plans to replace kitchens, bathrooms and flooring in individual units, add new siding, roofs, hot water piping and windows, as well as new landscaping. Furthermore, the addition of new insulation will transform the buildings into more energy-efficient structures.  

An inclusive project

Seventy-eight of the units will be for households earning at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income, with 24 apartments supported by the Massachusetts Rental Voucher program and 10 set aside for those who have federal Section 8 vouchers. The community will also include 10 workforce housing units for middle-income families that earn at or below 100 percent of the area’s median income, which in Cambridge is $113,300 for a family of four. The project also protects the affordability of 45 Section 13A units at Linwood Court.  

MassHousing’s financing includes an $8.2 million permanent loan, a $13.6 million bridge loan and $1 million from the agency’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative. The Department of Housing and Community Development provided $4.7 million in Section 13A-specific financing as well as an additional $1 million in affordable housing financing. Other funding sources for Squirrelwood include:

  • $14.9 million in low-income housing tax credit equity from DHCD
  • $4.1 million from the City of Cambridge’s Affordable Housing Trust
  • a $2.6 million seller note
  • $700,000 in state Historic Tax Credit equity
  • $300,000 from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority
  • $140,000 in Cambridge Historic Commission grants

The agency has financed 15 rental developments in Cambridge, involving 2,235 units and $387 million in financing. Earlier this year, MassHousing also closed on a $17.1 million loan for an affiliate of Trinity Financial Inc. that will use the financing for the construction of a new, 102-unit affordable housing community in Lawrence, Mass.