First apartment building funded by Massachusetts’ workforce housing subsidy program opens

The transit-oriented Gateway North Residences is centrally located in Lynn, Mass.

July 18, 2018 |

Ten of the 71 apartments in Gateway North Residences are reserved for renters whose household incomes fall between 61% and 120% of the area's median. Image: MassHousing

A $31 million, 71-unit mixed-income rental property, which opened late last month in Lynn, Mass., is the first development funded by MassHousing’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative, through which the administration of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has pledged to build 1,000 workforce housing units.

This program targets individuals and families with incomes of 61% to 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI), who don’t qualify for other affordable housing programs. MassHousing confirms that the Initiative provided $1.6 million in subsidies for the 10 workforce housing units in the abovementioned apartment building, known as Gateway North Residences.

Lynn is a working-class, minority-majority town of 92,000 people whose average age is around 34. Its median household income is just under $51,000, but the town also has a 20% poverty rate, according to statistics compiled by Data USA.

Eight of the units in the five-floor Gateway North went to homeless people whose incomes were less than 30% of AMI. Forty-five of the units are reserved for lower-income households up to 61% of AMI. Each of these renter groups will pay lower rents as a result of tax credits and subsidies provided by state and local authorities.

The rents for eight of the units are market rate.

According to Gateway’s website, the 18 one-bedroom apartments range from 627 to 777 sf; the 46 two bedrooms from 865 to 900 sf; and the seven three-bedroom units from 1,238 to 1,300 sf. Market-rate rents range from $1,700 to $2,950 per month. Mixed-income gross rents, prior to subsidies, run from $1,200 for a one bedroom to $1,963 for three bedrooms.

The apartment building is located across from North Shore Community College and a short walk to the Central Square commuter rail station. The project was created in response to the Washington District Master Plan, initiated by Lynn Housing and Neighborhood Development, funded by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, and executed by Sasaki Associates.

Washington Gateway Associates LP is owned by partners Neighborhood Development Associates and Hub Holdings LLC. Lynn Housing and Neighborhood Development is managing the building.

The Building Team on this project included The Architectural Team (design architect), Bilt Rite Construction (GC), Wakefield Beasley & Associates (MEP), and Veitas and Veitas Engineering (SE).

Michael Lui, AIA, NCARB, Vice President and Principal with The Architectural Team, notes that this project dates back to 2013, when the developers acquired 2.5 acres of vacant land in the heart of Lynn’s Central Square.

Lui says that what was different about Gateway North, from other workforce projects his firm has worked on, was the collaboration between the state and local housing authorities., which he says made the design and construction processes somewhat easier “because both sides had the same goal.”

MassHousing so far has committed $57.5 million in workforce housing funds to 25 projects located in 14 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The funds will help to build 2,309 housing units, including 616 new workforce housing units.

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