MassHousing Provides $36M in Financing for MA Affordable Housing

The former Worcester County Courthouse will be redeveloped by Trinity Financial into 117 apartments, including 45 workforce housing units and 13 for extremely low-income residents.
The Worcester Courthouse project. Rendering courtesy of The Architectural Team of Chelsea, Mass.

MassHousing has closed on $35.8 million in financing to Trinity Financial for the redevelopment of the former Worcester County Courthouse in Worcester, Mass., into a 117-unit affordable housing community.

Located at 2 Main St. in downtown Worcester, the courthouse was built in 1845 and has been vacant since 2007. Trinity, a developer with offices in Boston and New York City, is planning 23 studio, 52 one-bedroom, 31 two-bedroom and 11 three-bedroom apartments. Thirteen of the 117 units will serve extremely low-income households with subsidy from project-based Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program vouchers. Thirty-seven units will be affordable to low-income households at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The redevelopment will include 45 workforce housing units, which will be affordable to households earning at or below 110 percent of AMI, and six market-rate apartments. The AMI in Worcester is $97,700 for a family of four.

The Worcester Courthouse project is part of a larger revitalization of the city’s historic Lincoln Square district. The courthouse is adjacent to the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester Memorial Auditorium and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services. It is less than a mile from the MBTA Commuter Rail at Union Station and is near public bus service.

The redevelopment is expected to be completed by 2020. Joining The Architectural Team of Chelsea, Mass. on the project is Tocci Building Corp. of Woburn, Mass., and Trinity Management, the management agency for the property.

Financing Package

MassHousing, a self-sustaining public agency that finances affordable homes and apartments in Massachusetts, is providing Trinity with a $12.2 million tax-exempt permanent loan, $19.1 million in bridge loan financing and $4.5 million in funding from the agency’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative.

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) committed state and federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to the project, which will generate $20.9 million in equity financing. Other financing sources include $10.7 million in federal historic tax credit equity, $2.9 million in state historic tax credit equity, $6 million in direct DHCD support and a $1.7 million deferred developer fee. The Massachusetts Housing Investment Corp. is the tax credit syndicator.

Workforce Housing Initiative

The Worcester Courthouse project. Rendering courtesy of The Architectural Team of Chelsea, Mass.

The courthouse redevelopment advances the Baker-Polito administration’s goal of creating up to 1,000 new workforce housing units affordable to middle-income households through the MassHousing Workforce Housing Initiative. Since 2016, MassHousing has committed or closed workforce housing financing totaling $71.5 million to 31 projects located in 16 cities and towns. To date, the initiative has led to the development of 3,102 housing units across a range of incomes, including 797 workforce housing units.

In February 2018, MassHousing obtained $10.6 million in financing for the acquisition, renovation and preservation of 111 units in two East Boston affordable housing communities—the 15-unit Landfall Apartments and the 96-unit East Boston Rehab portfolio. Also in February 2018, MassHousing provided $16.4 million in financing for the rehabilitation and preservation of the historic 180-unit Wellington Community in Worcester. Like the Worcester Courthouse redevelopment, the Wellington Community project had a variety of state and federal financing sources. The city of Worcester also contributed $500,000 and the developer, WinnCos., received a $22.3 million construction loan from Bank of America.