$41.2M loan to help provide affordable housing in Sunderland

  • A view of the apartment complex North 116 Flats in Sunderland, which was financed by MassHousing for more than 40 million. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer
Published: 6/28/2022 11:25:19 AM

SUNDERLAND — A recently purchased mixed-income apartment complex off of Route 116 has received more than $40 million in financing from MassHousing to help subsidize the costs of affordable housing.

The independent, quasi-public agency has granted a $41.2 million taxable permanent loan — to be amortized over 35 years — to Athens, Georgia-based Landmark Properties, the owner of North 116 Flats, the 150-unit apartment complex at 653 Amherst Road (Route 116). The financing will ensure affordable rental housing is available for families in Sunderland and students studying in Amherst. Landmark Properties bought the apartment complex on March 15, according to MassHousing spokesperson Thomas Farmer.

“We are excited to offer local citizens and students in the Amherst area with a residential property that suits the needs and wants of the community with North 116 Flats,” Wes Rogers, president and CEO of Landmark Properties, said in a statement. “Landmark is fortunate to partner with MassHousing experts to guide affordable housing options for Landmark-owned communities in Sunderland.”

MassHousing was founded in 1966 for the purpose of creating affordable housing throughout the state. The agency raises money by selling bonds and lending those proceeds to homebuyers looking for homes and to developers to encourage the construction and maintenance of affordable and mixed-income rental housing. MassHousing does not use taxpayer money for its operations — of which it has granted more than $27.5 billion since its inception — but it does administer some state-funded programs.

North 116 Flats was created under the state’s Chapter 40B guidelines, which streamlines zoning requirements for developments containing at least 20-25% of units with long-term affordability restrictions, according to the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

“Most every community across the commonwealth has more demand for rental and for-purchase housing than supply,” Farmer wrote in an email, “and North 116 Flats has brought 150 new apartments to local families and students located 3 miles north of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and along a bus line that runs into downtown Amherst and UMass.”

The North 116 Flats complex features 38 family apartments, which are available to households earning at or below 80% of the area median income — the median income for a family of four in Sunderland is $82,900 — as well as 112 apartments, containing 329 beds, marketed toward students with rent set at the market rate. The compound features community amenities like a fitness center, grilling stations and a dog park.

The state keeps a rolling inventory of subsidized housing units in towns across Massachusetts. According to the most recent report, which was published in December 2020, Sunderland’s subsidized housing accounts for 10.7%. The 2020 numbers vary across the county, with Greenfield at 15.4%, Montague at 9.6% and Deerfield at 1.5%.

Farmer said MassHousing currently has seven housing communities in Franklin County: 94 units at Greenfield Acres and 200 units at Leyden Woods; 82 units at Power Town Apartments in Montague; and 120 units at King James Court/Pinecrest Apartments II, 234 units at King Pine Apartments and 114 units at Pinecrest Apartments in Orange. This amounts to a total of 994 total units with approximately $130.8 million in loans.



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