Former Worcester School to Become Mixed-Income Housing

The vacant Worcester Vocational and Technical School in Worcester, Mass., will be transformed into the 84-unit Voke Lofts, a mixed-income housing development.

Boston—The vacant Worcester Vocational and Technical School in Worcester, Mass., will be transformed into the 84-unit Voke Lofts, a mixed-income housing development. The announcement was made by MassHousing, which reported the closing of $18 million in loans for the project.

Boston-based WinnDevelopment is acquiring and developing the 103-year-old Grove St. one-time school property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Half of the 84 apartments will be affordable and the other half will be rented at market rates. Fifty apartments will be one-bedroom, 31 will be two-bedroom and three will be three-bedroom residences. Construction will start this month, and completion is expected by the fall of next year.

In addition to WinnDevelopment, other team members participating in the development process are contractor Dellbrook Construction, architect Architectural Team, Inc., and management agent Winn Managed Properties.

MassHousing, the shortened name of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency, will provide a $14.8 million bridge loan, a $2.3 million permanent loan and $780,000 deferred payment loan. The project is also garnering $2 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which is managed by MassHousing on behalf of the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Additional financing is being provided by DHCD ($1.3 million), the city of Worcester ($1.2 million) and federal and state tax credit equity that will generate an anticipated $25.4 million in financing for the $33.8 million project.

Noted MassHousing executive director Thomas R. Gleason: “Voke Lofts will transform a vacant former school into vibrant, workforce housing and revitalize a valuable property in downtown Worcester into an affordable housing asset for the community. This project has received major support from the city of Worcester and the state. WinnDevelopment has an exemplary record of taking vacant or underused historical buildings and developing them into quality affordable housing, while preserving the historical integrity of the property.”