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Preservation of 97 affordable units started in Roxbury

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Neighborhood Development

Building on his commitment to creating and maintaining affordable housing in the City of Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the preservation and the start of the rehabilitation of 97 affordable rental units at the Newcastle Saranac Apartments in Roxbury.

Building on his commitment to creating and maintaining affordable housing in the City of Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the preservation and the start of the rehabilitation of 97 affordable rental units at the Newcastle Saranac Apartments in Roxbury. Newcastle-Saranac is an existing urban residential development comprising two four-story buildings on two city blocks. 

"In Boston, we are committed to creating safe, stable housing for all Boston residents. I am proud that, together with our partners, we have been able to preserve the affordability of 97 homes in Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "We will continue to preserve and grow our affordable housing stock in Boston, and the acquisition and renovation of  this building will ensure that residents living here will not be priced out of their homes."

Through the joint efforts of CEDAC, MassHousing, and the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development's Housing Preservation Program, the development was acquired by Fenway CDC in early 2019. Last month, the Fenway CDC and their development partner, The Schochet Companies, successfully finalized the financing needed to rehab the development, while preserving affordability in perpetuity by utilizing additional State and City resources.

"Closing on this project the midst of COVID-19 did not make this already very complex transaction any easier, but the public partners for this project truly went above and beyond to make sure it could close in time to get construction safely started. At one point I think we had someone from nearly every Department at the City working on this project - during COVID - to make sure it crossed the finish line," said Leah Camhi, Executive Director of Fenway CDC. "I want to extend my sincerest gratitude and thanks to everyone at the City of Boston, CEDAC, MassHousing, and DHCD who helped make the Newcastle-Saranac Apartments project feasible. We could not have preserved and rehabbed these units without working with our public partners."

This preservation transaction was made possible with a strong community development infrastructure. The acquisition and rehab of Newcastle Saranac would not have been possible without significant support from the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development Neighborhood Housing Trust, Boston Planning & Development Agency's Off-Site Inclusionary Development Policy fund, MassHousing, CEDAC and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. 

"The deep affordability of these units for nearly a hundred households, contrasted with the rents of market-rate housing in the area, made their preservation especially critical for maintaining the vibrancy and diversity of the neighborhood," said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. "Thanks to a strong collaborative effort by the Commonwealth, the City of Boston, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation, the Fenway CDC, the Schochet Companies, and the residents of Newcastle Saranac, the community will see affordable homes preserved and substantially renovated. MassHousing is pleased to be a partner in this important transaction."

The Schochet Companies provided development services for the transaction and will continue in that role through construction. Schochet also serves as the management agent.

"Now, with ever more economic uncertainty coming our way we are beyond thrilled that these 97 units are preserved as affordable housing forever," said Schochet CEO Richard Henken. "These are great, beautiful properties in an outstanding location, and we are excited for the families who call them home now and will in the future." 

Mayor Walsh is a leader nationally on housing with a strong commitment to increasing access to homeownership, preventing displacement and promoting fair and equitable housing access. Newcastle-Sarnac's preservation strongly aligns with the City's housing goals outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. The City's overall housing target is the creation of 69,000 new units, including 15,000 units of affordable housing, by 2030 to meet Boston's population growth. 

Since the release of the original Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 plan in 2014, income-restricted housing stock, designed to increase affordable housing, has grown along with overall new production. Nearly 20 percent of housing units are income-restricted, and 25 percent of rental units are income-restricted. 

About the Department of Neighborhood Development

The Department of Neighborhood Development is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, developing affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can find, maintain, and stay in their homes. As part of the ongoing COVID-19 response, the Office of Housing Stability is also conducting tenant's rights workshops to educate residents about the eviction moratorium. The Boston Home Center continues to provide down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers and home repairs for seniors and low-income residents. The Supportive Housing Division is working with various partners around the city to rapidly house individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

About Fenway CDC 

Fenway CDC is a 47- year-old non-profit Community Development Corporation (CDC) based in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston (MA). The CDC is devoted to enhancing the stability, sustainability, and diversity of the Fenway neighborhood by providing opportunities for all Fenway residents, particularly those of limited means, to thrive in the community. Development and maintenance of affordable housing is a primary component of Fenway CDC's mission. Fenway CDC currently owns over 400 rental apartments and about 650 residents call CDC-owned units their home. For more information about Fenway CDC please visit www.fenwaycdc.org

About The Schochet Companies

The Schochet Companies is a full-service real estate development and management company founded by Jay R. Schochet more than forty years ago. Since that time the company has developed, owned, and/or managed more than 7,000 apartments, the bulk of which are affordable, and more than 600,000 square feet of retail and commercial space throughout New England and on the West Coast. Today, Schochet Companies owns and/or manages more than 5,000 apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial space throughout New England. Headquartered in Braintree, the company employs more than 170 people. For more information about Schochet please visit www.schochet.com.