MassHousing has provided a total of $18 million in affordable housing financing to the non-profit Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF), and its development consultant, the Schochet Companies, for the refinancing, preservation of affordability and renovation of the 100-unit Hillcrest Acres Apartments in Attleboro.
RHF, in partnership with the Schochet Companies, purchased Hillcrest Acres in July 2020, at a time when the property was in danger of converting to market-rate housing. This financing transaction will ensure long-term affordability protections remain in place at the property, and that significant capital needs there are addressed. RHF plans to complete approximately $9.9 million in property improvements.
“This ownership team stepped up to acquire Hillcrest Acres at a time when the property was in danger of losing its affordability, and now they will ensure that the property is a source of safe, modern affordable housing for many years to come,” said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. “MassHousing was very pleased to work with RHF and Schochet to preserve this affordable housing resource in Attleboro, where lower- and moderate-income residents will continue to enjoy housing stability and economic opportunity.”
MassHousing provided the ownership team with a $7 million tax-exempt construction and permanent loan, a $7.2 million bridge loan, $2.7 million from the Agency’s Workforce Housing Initiative, and $1 million in additional financing from the CDFI Fund’s Capital Magnet Fund.
Other financing sources included $9.6 million from an allocation of Low Income Housing Tax Credits by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), $4.2 million in direct support from DHCD, and a $1.4 million sponsor note. The tax credit investor was R4 Capital.
“RHF is committed to preserving crucial affordable housing and Hillcrest Acres is a prime example of that effort, said Stuart Hartman, RHF’s President and CEO. “This effort will ensure that Hillcrest Acres will serve the people in this community for decades to come.”
RHF and Schochet acquired Hillcrest Acres in 2020 through Chapter 40T, a state law designed to help prevent affordable housing from being sold and converted to unrestricted rents. The Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) provided an $8.4 million acquisition loan for the transaction.
“We are so appreciative of the efforts of all involved in helping us to close this complicated two-step transaction. First CEDAC, who provided us with ability to initially preserve this critical asset in 2020, and then MassHousing, DHCD and R4, who ensured that we will be able to do substantial rehab while preserving these units in excellent condition for the long term,” said Richard J. Henken, President and CEO of the Schochet Companies.
As part of the housing preservation transaction, RHF will undertake extensive site work improvements at Hillcrest Acres, including bathroom renovations, the installation of new kitchen appliances, the creation of accessible units, and structural improvements to roofs and balconies.
Located at 1101 Hillside Ave. in Attleboro, Hillcrest Acres has 16 one-bedroom apartments, 72 two-bedroom apartments, and 12 three-bedroom apartments. Thirteen of the units are restricted to households earning up to 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with eight of those units supported by the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. Nineteen units are restricted to households earning up to 50 percent of AMI, 33 units are restricted to households earning up to 60 percent of AMI, and 35 units are restricted to households earning up to 80 percent of AMI, with 27 of those being workforce housing units. The AMI for Attleboro is $97,600 for a household of four.
Hillcrest Acres Apartments advances the Baker-Polito Administration’s goal of creating at least 1,000 new workforce housing rental units affordable to middle-income households through MassHousing’s Workforce Housing Initiative. Since the inception of the initiative in 2016, MassHousing has committed or closed workforce housing financing totaling $155.3 million, to 74 projects, located in 27 cities and towns, and advanced the development of 5,933 housing units across a range of incomes, including 1,605 middle-income workforce units.
MassHousing has financed six rental housing communities in Attleboro involving 739 housing units and $70.7 in total financing. The Agency has provided $116.9 million in mortgage financing to 871 Attleboro homebuyers and homeowners who refinanced their homes.