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MassDevelopment eyes two Lowell affordable housing complexes for renovations

Agency plans to refinance and renovate two affordable multifamily rental housing facilities

March 1, 2021 : The Lowell Sun, Jon Winkler

The Sirk Building in Lowell, which is set to be renovated courtesy of a $7.6 million bond issued by MassDevelopment
The Sirk Building in Lowell, which is set to be renovated courtesy of a $7.6 million bond issued by MassDevelopment

LOWELL – The state’s finance and development agency is looking to keep two local sources of affordable housing active and up-to-date.

On Thursday, Feb. 25, MassDevelopment issued a $7.6 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of Sirk Chestnut Apartments Limited Partnership, an affiliate of The Caleb Group, Inc.

According to the agency, the bond will be used to refinance and renovate Chestnut Square Apartments and The Sirk Building, two affordable multifamily rental housing development in Lowell.

Chestnut Square, fittingly located on Chestnut Street and first established between the 1830s and 1870s, contains 46 units. The Sirk Building, first built in 1840, is located on Bridge Street and contains 42 units.

The buildings for both developments have been renovated in the past, with Chestnut last touched-up in 2000 and Sirk last renovated the year after.

“As we face the housing crisis within the COVID-19 pandemic, preserving every unit of affordable housing is crucial, and that is why MassDevelopment is proud to help The Caleb Group renovate and preserve 88 affordable housing units in Lowell,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera said in a statement. “Because property values and rents are going up, ensuring the long-term accessibility of these apartments is vital to providing housing security for many families who call this Gateway City home.”

The Caleb Group plans to replace the roofs, windows, plumbing and heating systems of the developments, along with repairing or replace the sidings of all the buildings. All 88 units will continue to be rented to households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income.

“The Caleb Group appreciates the help and support of MassDevelopment in creating financing for the refinancing and renovation of the affordable housing communities Chestnut Square Apartments and The Sirk Building in Lowell,” Caleb Group President, CEO and co-founder Debbie Nutter said in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with MassDevelopment to continue to provide affordable housing to 88 households for decades to come.”