Financing Progress for Nubian Square Ascends

MassDevelopment Partners with Several Area Lenders to Finance Predevelopment Work for 185,000-Square-Foot Mixed-Use Development in Roxbury Featuring Housing, Offices, Labs, a Culinary Center & More

July 13, 2022

Matthew Mogavero, 857-248-0868

Carolyn Spicer, McDermott Ventures

Rendering of Nubian Square Ascends in Roxbury, courtesy of Nubian Ascends Partners, LLC.

BOSTON – MassDevelopment has partnered with six organizations to provide loan financing to Nubian Ascends Partners, LLC for predevelopment work at Nubian Square Ascends, a planned mixed-use development located between Washington Street and Harrison Avenue in Nubian Square in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. The lending partners – BlueHub Loan Fund, Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF), Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC), The Life Insurance Community Investment Initiative, and The Property and Casualty Initiative (PCI) – provided a $3 million loan, which MassDevelopment enhanced with a guarantee. 

Nubian Square Ascends plans to be an employment, cultural, and social hub of the Roxbury community. An 185,000-square-foot commercial building with offices, life science labs, a training center, culinary center, and retail marketplace, the destination will also include a 34,500-square-foot cultural hall, 15 homeownership units (10 of which will be affordable), an artists’ workspace, parking garage, and outdoor plaza.

“Nubian Square Ascends marks the latest in a series of game-changing investments in Roxbury’s Nubian Square aimed at invigorating the local economy, and it’s terrific to see MassDevelopment help move the project forward by tapping into its partnerships with area lenders,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “The Baker-Polito Administration was pleased to provide a $1.5 million MassWorks award last year to support design and permitting work for Nubian Square Ascends. Importantly, we have proposed to contribute another $5 million in federal ARPA funding towards this transformative project through the FORWARD Act, which is currently pending before the Legislature.”

“The transformation of Dudley Square into Nubian Square is palpable, with major investments like this bringing new opportunities into the community,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “The mixed-use nature of the Nubian Square Ascends development will create a true center of economic access, innovation, and creativity in this historic Boston neighborhood. It feels great to be a part of this real community effort that has come together to ensure that this centerpiece development by Nubian Ascends Partners, LLC becomes a reality.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our development team to convert the Blair parking lot into a focal point in Nubian Square and we are proud these six lending partners also believe in the vision for Nubian,” said Nubian Ascends Managing Partner Richard Taylor. “In addition to a physical transformation, this project will bring new education and medical office tenants all while celebrating the local food and culinary entrepreneurs as well as dance, art and entertainment in one of Boston’s most historic neighborhoods.”

“This project is a key component in a strategic plan for re-catalyzing and reclaiming Nubian Square into a healthy, vibrant cultural and commercial hub,” said BlueHub Loan Fund Interim President Mike Nilles. “BlueHub is proud to be the lead lender on this development in our own neighborhood, providing essential predevelopment financing that will ensure Nubian Square Ascends comes to fruition.” 

“MHIC has always believed in the transformative effect of sustained investment in Boston’s neighborhoods,” said Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation Director of Investment Kathy McGilvray. “Since our founding, MHIC has financed over $410 million in affordable housing and community development in Roxbury, of which $110 million is concentrated in Nubian Square. We’re proud to continue supporting this vibrant development that will bring so much to the community.”

“The Life Insurance Community Investment Initiative has been on the forefront of supporting BIPOC owned developers with predevelopment financing and we are grateful to MassDevelopment for supporting this large loan with the consortium of other mission driven lenders with a guaranty to further the work of this truly transformative Nubian Square project,” said The Life Insurance Community Investment Initiative President Kristen Harol.

“The Property and Casualty Initiative (PCI) was established in 1999 by the MA Property and Casualty Insurance Companies to support projects exactly such as Nubian Ascends,” said The Property and Casualty Initiative President Michelle Volpe. “This project is being designed and developed by a talented and experienced team. Together they project to create 900 permanent jobs in a neighborhood where job creation has persistently and historically lagged other neighborhoods in Boston, by making Nubian Ascends a hub of science, academic and medical research. The impact of this investment is significant, far reaching and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of the early financing that is supporting this development team and project.” 

MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2021, MassDevelopment financed or managed 416 projects generating investment of more than $1.86 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 6,578 jobs and build or preserve 1,909 housing units.