Worcester Housing Community Will Undergo Major Renovation

Boston – MassHousing has closed on $16.4 million in affordable housing financing to the WinnCompanies, for the rehabilitation and long-term preservation of the historic 180-unit Wellington Community in Worcester.

“WinnCompanies was committed to completing major upgrades to Wellington Community and making sure it remains affordable to its residents for the long term,” said MassHousing Acting Executive Director Tom Lyons. “MassHousing was pleased to partner with Winn, the Commonwealth and the city of Worcester to modernize this historic housing community, maintaining affordability for working families and lower-income households in Worcester.” The general contractor will be Keith Construction, Inc. The architect is The Architectural Team and the management agent is WinnResidential.

MassHousing is providing the WinnCompanies with $16.4 million in permanent financing. MassHousing’s tax-exempt financing generated $9.1 million in equity for the project, through federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Other project sources include $2.4 million federal historic tax credit financing, $1.5 million from an allocation of state historic tax credits, $3.1 million in owner equity, deferred fees and reserves, and $500,000 from the city of Worcester. Bank of America is providing a $22.3 million construction loan.

WinnCompanies plans to make approximately $11.2 million in property improvements to the scattered-site affordable housing property. In addition, WinnCompanies will extend affordability for low-income households at the property for at least 30 years. As part of the financing transaction, WinnCompanies is extending the federal Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Contract on the 180 units for 20 years.

“We’re proud to not only reinvest in this property but also to preserve it as affordable housing for decades to come,” said Gilbert Winn, CEO of WinnCompanies. “We have owned and managed Wellington Community for 35 years. Thanks to our partners at the city and MassHousing, it will continue to play an important role in Worcester’s rental housing inventory for decades more.”

Wellington Community is located in a historic section of Worcester, in 11 buildings on scattered sites on Wellington Street, Ethan Allen Street, Jacques Avenue and Irving Street. Ten of the buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are 69 one-bedroom apartments, 85 two-bedroom apartments, 20 three-bedroom apartments and 6 four-bedroom apartments. Of the 180 units, 178 are affordable to households making at or below 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), which for Worcester is $51,420 for a family of four. Two of the units are for households earning at or below 80% of AMI ($68,000 for a family of four).

Improvements to the community’s residential buildings will include restoration of masonry exteriors, replacement of roofs, installation of historically-sensitive doors and windows, improvements to existing handicap accessibility accommodations, and energy-efficiency improvements to mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.

Residential apartments will undergo mechanical system upgrades and the installation of new cabinetry, appliances, and fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms. Common amenity space and laundry rooms also will be overhauled.

MassHousing has financed or manages the rental subsidy for 35 rental housing communities in Worcester totaling 4,973 units of housing with an overall original loan amount of $193.2 million and also provided mortgage loans to 3,038 homebuyers or homeowners with an original overall loan amount of $332.4 million.