BOSTON – April 21, 2020 – MassHousing has closed on $1.3 million in affordable workforce housing financing to Austin Street Partners LLC, for the new, 68-unit 28 Austin Street in Newton, which offers 23 workforce housing apartments for lower- and moderate-income households.
The recently completed 28 Austin Street development is a public-private partnership between Austin Street Partners, a joint venture of Dinosaur Capital Partners and Oaktree Development, and the City of Newton. The project transformed the former Austin Street municipal parking lot - by using the innovative GreenStaxx modular building technology - into a 68-unit mixed-income housing community with retail space, a new public plaza and playground, and a reconstructed municipal parking.
"MassHousing was pleased to be a partner with the development team and the City of Newton in this transformative project that turned a city parking lot into a new community with 68 units of mixed-income rental housing with retail and public space," said MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay. "We applaud the City of Newton’s commitment to housing the Commonwealth’s workforce and congratulate Dinosaur Capital Partners and Oaktree Development on a job well done."
"28 Austin Street was the first rental housing permitted in Newton, a city of 87,000, in over 12 years," said Scott Oran, Managing Partner of Dinosaur Capital Partners. "When, at the last minute, the Newton City Council required 33 percent of the apartments be affordable or workforce housing, it threatened the financial viability of the project. While excited to increase the affordable and workforce housing stock, we worried about our ability to attract equity and debt financing. Governor Baker's Workforce Housing Initiative was crucial in creating a viable project and increasing urgently needed workforce, affordable and market housing in greater Boston."
"This project offered Oaktree’s companion firm GreenStaxx the opportunity to demonstrate the potential quality, flexibility and speed of utilizing our modular system," said Arthur Klipfel, President of GreenStaxx. "The units were constructed in Canada and trucked to the site and assembled in a matter of weeks. We hope the success of this project will encourage the use of this emerging technology to meet the demand for green and more affordable housing in our state and even nationally. We strongly support these efforts."
MassHousing provided Austin Street Partners with $1.3 million in affordable housing financing from the Agency's Workforce Housing Initiative. The MassHousing funding was structured to close upon completion of the new housing. Eastern Bank provided $25.7 million in construction and permanent financing for the project.
Twenty-three of the 68 new apartments are workforce housing units restricted to households earning at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI). The remaining 45 apartments are rented at market rates. The AMI for Newton is $113,300 for a household of four. MassHousing’s financing involved the development of 13 of the 23 workforce housing units, all 23 of which have been leased and are occupied.
There are 33 one-bedroom apartments and 35 two-bedroom apartments. The residential and retail building has a 90-space underground parking garage and the former parking lot was reconstructed with 124 public spaces.
28 Austin Street advances the Baker-Polito Administration’s goal of creating up to 1,000 new workforce housing units affordable to middle-income households through MassHousing’s Workforce Housing Initiative. Since the inception of the initiative in 2016, MassHousing has committed or closed workforce housing financing totaling $96.8 million, to 47 projects, located in 21 cities and towns. To date, the Workforce Housing Initiative has advanced the development of 3,933 housing units across a range of incomes, including 1,070 workforce housing units.
28 Austin Street was designed by Stantec and GreenStaxx and constructed by NEI General Contracting. It was built using GreenStaxx modular building technology, a patented design system that uses pre-engineered units that can be assembled like Lego blocks to fit any site. The management and marketing agent is the Nordblom Company.
MassHousing has financed 13 rental housing communities in Newton totaling 1,513 units of housing with an overall original loan amount of $266 million. The Agency has also provided home mortgage loans to 139 homebuyers and homeowners with an original purchase principal balance of $24.2 million.
About Dinosaur Capital Partners
Dinosaur Capital Partners LLC is a Boston-area real estate investment, development and advisory firm founded in 2009 by real estate industry veterans Scott Oran and Mark Dufton. Since 2012, Dinosaur has permitted or constructed more than 400 housing units in Boston, Cambridge and Newton. In addition, Dinosaur has invested in, developed or redeveloped industrial, office and retail assets in the greater Boston area and advised real estate owners nationally. For more information about Dinosaur, please visit www.dinosaurcap.com.
About Oaktree Development
For more than 40 years, Oaktree Development, LLC, and its predecessor Unihab, has specialized in the design and development of innovative, multi-family, mixed-use, mixed-income, high performance and transit-oriented (TOD) projects. Founded by award-winning architect-developers, Arthur Klipfel and Gwen Noyes, Oaktree and its partners have successfully developed and/or designed dozens of projects consisting of more than 2,000 residential units and commercial space. A commitment to sustainability has been a core principle for Oaktree since its inception. Oaktree’s dedication to innovation, creativity and financial performance is embodied by its companion firm, GreenStaxx, a patented building system created by Arthur Klipfel. In the process of developing and designing urban residential units, it became clear that the same designs were used over and over in multiple projects. Thus, the idea arose to create a system of replicable digital unit stacks that fit into a site-specific grid, that are cost-effectively and sustainably designed, and that can be fabricated off-site. This system has been used in multiple projects, including 28 Austin Street, and can accommodate virtually any site. For more information about GreenStaxx please visit www.greenstaxx.com.
MassHousing (The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency) is an independent, quasi-public agency created in 1966 and charged with providing financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts. The Agency raises capital by selling bonds and lends the proceeds to low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners, and to developers who build or preserve affordable and/or mixed-income rental housing. MassHousing does not use taxpayer dollars to sustain its operations, although it administers some publicly funded programs on behalf of the Commonwealth. Since its inception, MassHousing has provided more than $24.3 billion for affordable housing. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.