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Construction Begins on Adaptive Reuse Project

Wells School Apartments / Renderings courtesy of The Architectural Team, Inc.

Southbridge, MA – Arch Communities and WinnDevelopment, the multifamily housing developer within WinnCompanies, announced that construction is underway on a $25.7 million adaptive reuse project to transform the 104-year-old Mary E. Wells school, built in 1916 as the first public high school in Southbridge, into apartments for seniors age 55 and older.

Adaptive reuse techniques will preserve the historic features of the building designed by Peabody and Stearns, and nominated for the National Historic Register in March 2017. The project has been designed to achieve the Enterprise Green Communities certification, a U.S. standard for the design, construction, and operation of healthy, energy efficient and environmentally responsible affordable housing.

Wells School Apartments

Of the 62 apartments, 56 units will provide affordable housing at rents set at 60% of area median income (AMI). Local transportation, services, shopping and amenities are within walking distance from the property. The site is also within close proximity to Harrington Hospital and the public bus route.

Keith Construction is serving as the general contractor and The Architectural Team is the architect.  WinnResidential will provide property management services to the property.

Once completed, the Wells School Apartments will feature a substantial amenity package, including an in-building laundry facility, fitness and yoga studio, tenant lounge, activity room, movie room, play space, game room, library and work pods, wellness suite, storage, and an internal courtyard. The property will include 66 parking spaces, of which four will be accessible. In partnership with WinnResidential, Tri-Valley Elder Services will provide a support services program available to residents living at Wells School Apartments.

“We’re extremely fortunate to work with our key partners who continue to support our efforts with critical funding including Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito, Secretary of State William Galvin, and the staff at the Massachusetts Historical Commission, as well as our valuable partners at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, MassHousing, CEDAC, BlueHub Capital and The Massachusetts Housing Partnership,” said Arch Communities principal, Richard Relich. “I would also like to acknowledge our equity partner, Bank of America, who continues to make critical investments in communities across Massachusetts.”

The support of U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, whose district includes Southbridge, along with State Sen. Ryan Fattman and State Rep. Michael Durant, also helped pave the way for the project’s financing and approval.

The project is expected to be completed by March 2022.

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