Pennrose Debuts Massachusetts Senior Development

The 55-unit, mainly affordable project stems from the conversion of a 1920s school in Auburn.
10 Church St. Image courtesy of DiMella Shaffer

Pennrose has received financing and started construction on the conversion of the 1920s Mary D. Stone school building in Auburn, Mass., into a 55-unit partially affordable senior community.

The undertaking includes the historic building renovation, the demolition of later built wings and construction of a new addition. DiMella Shaffer is the project architect, while NEI General Contracting will serve as general contractor. Completion is slated for September 2021, according to Auburn Mass Daily.

Located at 10 Church St., the three-story development will comprise studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Of the total, 44 units will cater to seniors earning at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income, while the rest of the units will have market-rate rents. Amenities will include a community room, a meeting room and laundry rooms. Upon completion, Pennrose Management Co. will provide property management services.

As part of the agreement signed with the Town of Auburn, Pennrose provided new equipment financing for the playground located behind the building and owned by the Town. The developer will also improve the area by adding landscaping and benches. Additionally, the completed development will include amenity space and community rooms available for Town meetings and events.

The 1.3-acre downtown site is adjacent to Auburn City Hall, a mile from Interstate 90. Auburn Mall and Auburn Recreation Center are also close by.

Financing the conversion

The project had various sources of financing. The Department of Housing and Community Development provided 9 percent federal low-income housing tax credits and state low-income housing tax credits as well as HOME, Housing Stabilization Funds and Affordable Housing Trust Funds in addition to Project- Based Section 8 rental housing assistance. Massachusetts Historic Commission contributed with state historic tax credits. Equity and debt partners include CREA, Dorfman Capital, BlueHub Capital, Massachusetts Housing Partnership and Citizens Bank.

In June, Pennrose, together with Omni America and BRP Development Group, signed an agreement with the Jersey City authorities for the development of an 8,000-unit mixed-income housing project on a 100-acre site. Developers estimate breaking ground on the project’s first phase in the fall.