Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development Announces $1.5MM MassWorks Grant for Nubian Square Ascends

Yesterday, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and Mayor Michelle Wu announced $9 million of MassWorks Infrastructure Progran funding for three projects in Nubian Square. $1.5 million of the award went to support design and predevelopment work for Nubian Square Ascends, a transformative commercial and cultural project in the heart of Nubian Square.

Nubian Square Ascends will advance a racial equity agenda by promoting local Black businesses, artists, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs, as well as creating pathways for local youth into the region’s booming biotech and life sciences industries. The MassWorks grant provides the funding necessary to advance the project to construction financing.

Click here to view the press conference.

Springfield Prep Celebrates the Opening of their New K-8 School Building

Springfield Prep hosted its official ribbon cutting ceremony for its new K-8 campus, located at 2071 Roosevelt Ave, Springfield, MA, on September 23. The $20.4 million renovation will allow the school to create a permanent home for nearly 500 scholars in grades K-8. The school includes classrooms designed for its unique two-teacher model, breakout rooms for small group instruction, a full gymnasium with a stage for performances, and dedicated science, art, and dance rooms. Speakers at the event included:

  • Governor Charlie Baker
  • Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito
  • John Davis, Trustee, The Irene E. and George C. Davis Foundation
  • City Councilor Michael Fenton
  • Springfield Prep Founder and Executive Director, Bill Spirer
  • Springfield Prep Assistant Principal Shawna Mitchell
  • Springfield Prep Founding Student Cyrine Fioklou, 7th Grade Student

“We’ve never had a gym like this for physical activity, for performances, for community gatherings. So with bigger classrooms, for our two teacher model, with a gym like this and playground spaces, it’s just a phenomenal home for us,” said Bill Spirer, Executive Director of Springfield Prep Charter School.

Governor Baker Visits Falmouth To Discuss Affordable Housing

Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. paid a visit to Little Pond Place yesterday, July 22, to participate in a roundtable discussion with local officials to discuss affordable housing on Cape Cod.

Among the participants were Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary Mike Kennealy, State Senator Susan Moran, Eric T. Turkington Falmouth Housing Corp Board Chair, Phillipe Jordi of the Island Housing Trust and Tara Mizrahi, Executive Vice President of Affirmative Investments Inc. The meeting was held in the community center at Little Pond Place, where Gov. Baker was given a tour of one of the residential units that were completed last summer. Little Pond Place is a 40-unit family development near the central business district in Falmouth.

Governor Baker was very open to listening and understanding the importance of creating affordable housing in the Cape. Mr. Turkington proposed the latest plan to create more housing opportunities in Falmouth. The latest plan of zoning modifications, such as the mixed-use overlay district, which would foster the creation of diverse housing opportunities as well as stimulate the local economy. He explained how the plan would allow for 20 units per acre by right—25 percent of which will be affordable housing—and stressed the importance of expanding the housing market on Cape Cod, which is currently 92 percent single-family homes. Ms. Mizrahi discussed some of the unique challenges of developing on the Cape and Islands focusing on the very high costs of construction and infrastructure.

To read more about the roundtable discussion/ comments from Governor Baker, and other participants click here.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for New YMCA at Gloucester Crossing

Scene from dedication ceremony for the Glen T. MacLeod YMCA for Cape Ann

Affirmative Investments was excited to attend the Ribbon cutting ceremony for the New YMCA at the Gloucester Crossing. AI secured $15MM in Allocation, with the projects total development cost at $25MM.

The new building will enable the Y to double its capacity from its old Middle Street home, provide about 300 parking spaces, and bring in natural light with big windows that look out into the green spaces surrounding Gloucester Crossing.

Since the new Glen T. MacLeod YMCA at 7 Gloucester Crossing opened its doors in April, the Y has been busy providing its members with access to Kids Club babysitting, Friday Night Fun, Weekend at the Y, Parent-Child swim, gymnastics and sports classes, physical therapy in partnership with Addison Gilbert Hospital, open swim, gym and gymnastics, splash pad, and all group exercise classes — including new hot yoga, heart-rate enabled spin and aqua circuit training.

To read more about the project and all the great feedback received from local officials and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito click here.

AI closes debt financing on DC SAFE’s “Safe Space” Shelter Facility and Office

Affirmative Investments, Inc. secured and closed on $2.93MM of subordinate debt financing from City First Enterprises and BlueHub Capital for DC SAFE’s “Safe Space” project. DC SAFE is Washington DC’s only 24/7 domestic violence organization, providing housing placement, advocacy, counseling services, and referrals to domestic violence survivors in the District. The project will provide 30 apartment-style units and allow the organization to double the number of women and their families they place into emergency housing. The building will also provide administrative office space for DC SAFE and space for complementary non-profit organizations such as the DC Forensic Nurse Examiners. Other lenders included United Bank, City First Bank, and Founders Bank. To learn more about DC SAFE and its project, visit: DC SAFE.

AI Presents Harmon Apartments to Boston Disability Commission

Harmon Apartments is a 36-unit “accessibility plus” mixed-income residential development located in the Ashmont/Peabody Square area of Dorchester that is intended as a national example for independent community living serving adults with physical disabilities including those with progressively degenerative diseases. The innovative model combines accessible features with state-of-the-art technology plus wellness programs and supportive services. This development is one of just a few in the nation that meets the needs of this population, where residents can live independently with family, while being able to readily access targeted services and supports as needed. Affirmative Investments partnered with The Boston Home to create this unique property. The following presentation about Harmon Apartments was made to the City of Boston’s Disability Housing Task Force on March 30, 2021.

Theatre Company begins renovation of its historic home

Affirmative Investments, Inc. assisted the Huntington Theatre Company in securing debt and tax credit financing for the renovation of its historic Huntington Avenue Theatre. Once completed, the renovation will create a 750-seat theater that will provide additional cultural performances to the public, expand its youth educational programming, grow its apprenticeship and workforce development programs; and increase its Huntington Community Membership Initiative. Affirmative secured $7 million of NMTC Allocation and a $9MM Federal Historic Tax Credit Investment from the National Trust Community Investment Corporation and East West Bank. Affirmative also worked in partnership with Zion’s Bank to structure a $44,460,000 loan from Century Bank.

“The Huntington Theatre has been home to so many extraordinary productions over the past four decades,” says Managing Director Michael Maso. “We now have the opportunity to restore this gem of a theatre to its former architectural glory, while also enhancing it with new, modern amenities to serve our artists, our audiences, and our community. And after a year of the theatre being dark, it is thrilling to announce that there is once again energy and activity in the building, as we plan for an exciting future.”

Click here to read more on the Huntington Theatre renovation project.

Affirmative’s Work with the Falmouth Housing Corporation Continues

This past year AI and our partner the Falmouth Housing Corporation have been as busy as we ever have creating affordable housing in Falmouth. We completed Little Pond Place & Gifford Workforce Phase I, and began construction on Phase II, 60 affordable apartments in all.

We completed construction and fully leased up Little Pond Place, a project we co-developed and co-own with the Falmouth Housing Corporation. This 40-apartment development for families includes a low-rise apartment building, two townhouse buildings, a community building and play area. Little Pond Place is located near downtown Falmouth and next to conservation land and Little Pond.

Affirmative served as the development consultant for FHC on Gifford Workforce Phase I. This project, funded by the Community Scale Housing Initiative, created ten units of workforce housing, a serious need for seasonal workers and others on the Cape. Falmouth Housing Corporation donated the land for the project, which is adjacent to the Falmouth Service Center and surrounded by other FHC properties and conservation land.

Gifford Workforce Phase II broke ground in February. The same development team will be building an additional 10 units of workforce housing, which will be completed and leased up in the Winter 2022.

Nubian Square incubator aims to buy the building it’s been renting

Affirmative is excited to be a financing partner on the Nubian Ascends Team.

Kai Grant and her husband, Chris Grant are working to purchase the building in partnership with Madison Park, a 55-year-old community development corporation that has helped build affordable housing in the city and restore Hibernian Hall. Madison Park will provide technical assistance, helping to usher the Grants through the purchase.

The Grants’ acquisition of the building is still being finalized, but should it go through, it will be another promising piece in Nubian Square’s redevelopment, said Richard Taylor, a developer who has partnered with the Grants on plans for the Nubian Ascends project, which will be built on the Blair Lot parcel in the square. The 329,000-square-foot project would bring market-rate office space, a marketplace, and a cultural hall with artists’ work spaces to the neighborhood. It was approved by the Boston Planning & Development Agency in December.

To read more on the Nubian Square project/ article click here.

Additional Nubian Square News: The Boston Business Journal, Universal Hub, and The Boston Herald