The Fact Maker

Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative, Inc. Celebrates Grand Opening of Walker School Apartments

Braintree And Taunton, MA: Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative,Inc. , a nonprofit organization that owns and develops affordable rental communities, officially celebrated the opening of the Walker School Apartments, located at 135 Berkley Street in Taunton, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held on October 26.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito attended the event and spoke about the importance of affordable housing and lauded the collaboration of agencies, organizations, and individuals that worked together to bring this new community to fruition.  Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, MassHousing Executive Director Chrystal Kornegay, Taunton Mayor Shaunna O’Connell, State Senator Marc Pacheco, State Representatives Carol Doherty and Normal Orrall, Registrar of Probate (and former mayor of Taunton) Tom Hoye, and Rob Charest of Boston Financial also contributed remarks to the program.  Tours of Walker School Apartments were offered following the ceremony.

The brand new 40-unit apartment community is the former site of the long-vacant Walker School and is now home to seniors 62 and older and non-elderly disabled individuals.  Residents began moving in in September; by the end of November, the community is expected to reach full occupancy.

A true collaboration of funding sources and organizations came together to support the project, which included redevelopment of the vacant former school into 40 new one-bedroom apartments (16 apartments in the original school building plus an addition containing 24 apartments).

MassHousing closed on $9.5 million in affordable housing financing to Affordable Housing and Services Collaborative, Inc., and Taunton Revitalization, Inc. – an $8.75 million construction loan and a $750,000 construction and permanent loan.

The project also received $14.1 million in equity financing through allocations of federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and federal Historic Tax Credits, as well as $3.69 million in equity financing from the allocations of state LIHTCs and state Historic Tax Credits syndicated by Boston Financial Investment Management.

Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which allocated the federal and state LIHTCs, also contributed $2.6 million in direct affordable housing subsidy.  The Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which MassHousing manages on behalf of DHCD, contributed $1 million to the project, and the city of Taunton provided $200,000 in financing. 

Walker School Apartments is located near the Weir Village Riverfront Park and the Taunton River and is serviced by public transportation.  All apartment homes have income qualifications and rent restrictions to provide affordability.  Braintree-based Peabody Properties is managing the community.

“The Walker School Apartments ribbon-cutting was a wonderful event, and I am so proud of this important project,” said Michael Mattos, executive director of AHSC.  “It was truly special to celebrate this event with so many of the people who worked to make this community a reality, as well as a number of the residents who are already calling Walker School home.”