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A Compendium of Property & Capital News
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A Compendium of Property & Capital News

MassHousing Expands Affordability of Symphony Plaza With $135.5M Financing Plan

March 06, 2018 - By The Real Reporter
334 Massachusetts Ave, Boston MA

BOSTON—MassHousing recently provided a total of $135.5M in financing to an affiliate of the non-profit Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF). The funds will enable RHF to launch a major renovation of the 404-unit Symphony Plaza in Boston and extend affordability of the property for at least 30 years. The Symphony Plaza refinancing was completed through the Federal Housing Administration’s Housing Tax Credit Pilot Program, which allows borrowers to use federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) in combination with an affordable fast-track mortgage product insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). MassHousing is the only state housing finance agency in the country among 52 FHA-approved Tax Credit Pilot Program lenders.

MassHousing takes pride in its ability to provide this funding that helps developers offer both modern and affordable housing options. “This is an important transaction for the low-income seniors living at Symphony Plaza, who will continue to live affordably in Boston’s Back

Bay, while benefitting from major property improvements,” lauds MassHousing Acting Executive Director, Tom Lyons. “. “We are proud to be the only housing finance agency in country

able to deliver a financing package like the one preserving affordability at Symphony Plaza,” he adds.

MassHousing provided a $74.5 million permanent loan through the Agency’s Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP)/Ginnie Mae Joint Venture Initiative with lender partner Rockport Mortgage Corporation. MassHousing also issued $61 million in short-term tax-exempt construction financing, to facilitate the use of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. The Tax Credit Pilot Program enabled Symphony Plaza’s owner, RHF, to deploy approximately $14.5M in tax credit equity toward renovations at the property. The combination of tax credits, with a mortgage insured by the FHA and guaranteed by Ginnie Mae, will allow RHF to make more substantial renovations to Symphony Plaza than would have been possible through conventional MAP financing alone.

With an additional $40.3 million in tax credit equity, a $20 million bridge loan from Wells Fargo, and an $8.1 million seller note, the property will undergo both cosmetic and structural improvements. Specifically, the Plaza will receive new windows, fire alarm and HVAC systems, significant electrical system upgrades, new entry doors, common area improvements, and upgrades to unit kitchens and bathrooms.

RHF sees the importance of this funding given the widespread demand for affordable senior housing. “As the need for affordable housing options for low-income seniors continues to out-pace supply, we are so pleased to be able to work with MassHousing and the rest of the team to ensure that this critical affordable housing resource will be preserved for the long term,” remarks Dr. Laverne R. Joseph, RHF’s President and CEO.

Symphony Plaza was built in 1980 as two developments financed by MassHousing – Symphony Plaza East and Symphony Plaza West. The 404-units are contained in 14-story and 16-story buildings at 333 and 334 Massachusetts Avenue near Boston Symphony Hall. There are 116 studio apartments, 260 one-bedroom apartments and 28-two bedroom apartments for senior citizens. One unit is occupied by a property manager.

The Schochet Companies provided development consulting and its affiliate, Federal Management Co., Inc. is the property manager for Symphony Plaza. MassHousing has financed or administers the rental subsidy for 260 rental housing communities in Boston involving 29,683 units and an original loan amount of $1.1 billion. It also provides 8,226 home mortgage loans in the city totaling $1.1 billion in financing. Its latest financing plan embodies its ability to collaborate with other non-profit housing foundations with the aim of creating more affordable housing options for the Boston community.

Tom Lyons