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Former Gardner Furniture Manufacturing Facility to Become Assisted Living Apartments With Help From $600,000 MassDevelopment Bond

October 20, 2010

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086

MassDevelopment has issued a $600,000 bond on behalf of HW3 Housing Associates Limited Partnership, which will use proceeds to convert the former Heywood-Wakefield furniture manufacturing building in downtown Gardner to a 78-unit assisted living facility. The facility will consist mostly of studio apartments with large common areas that include living rooms, a library, dining room, wellness center, and a country-style kitchen. Residents will receive assistance with daily activities and housekeeping. All units in the new facility will be designated affordable and will be rented to households earning no more than 50 percent of area median income.

“By renovating the former Heywood Wakefield building, HW3 is honoring Gardner's history as a leading furniture producer and filling a major need in the Commonwealth – affordable housing for our seniors,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Robert L. Culver. “We're pleased this low-cost financing assists in that two-pronged effort.”

“We are extremely thankful to MassDevelopment for their financial commitment to the Heywood Wakefield III project,” said Executive Director of Worcester Community Housing Resources Matthew E. Wally. “This project will go a long way in assisting with the revitalization of downtown Gardner and MassDevelopment deserves credit for their participation.”

The Heywood-Wakefield Company building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Heywood side of the business was founded in 1826 by five brothers, and merged with the Wakefield side – founded in 1855 – in the late 1800s.

The bond financing was essential for the project to qualify for Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) funds through DHCD. TCAP, a federal program funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was created to provide financing for affordable housing projects unable to secure low income housing tax credit equity due to poor market conditions

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2009, MassDevelopment financed or managed 229 projects statewide representing the investment of nearly $1.2 billion in the Massachusetts economy.