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Just-A-Start Corporation to Improve Property and Preserve Affordability for Working Families at Cambridge Housing Community with $30.1 Million in MassHousing Financing

273-unit Rindge Tower Apartments will have a workforce housing component for moderate income residents earning up to 95% of the area median income

Just-A-Start Corporation announces another substantive accomplishment to serve working families living in Cambridge. Executive Director Deborah Ruhe notes that the 273-unit Rindge Tower Apartments in Cambridge will see extensive property improvements and the preservation of affordability for at least 50 years as a result of $30.1 million in MassHousing financing.

Just-A-Start Corporation owns the Rindge Tower Apartments. As part of the MassHousing financing, apartments will be affordable to families with income levels ranging from extremely low – below 30% of the area median income (AMI) – to a workforce housing level of 95% AMI. The area median income for Cambridge is $98,500. Typically, the income level to qualify for an affordable unit is capped at 80% AMI. Just-A-Start’s mission JAS’s vision is a better future for all of its constituents – a secure home, a sustaining career, and engagement in the community. The Rindge Tower Apartments initiative represents a signature accomplishment well-aligned with Just-A-Start’s mission.

“The financing from MassHousing and Stratford Capital Group will allow Just-A-Start to make improvements to benefit low-income tenants, increase energy efficiency, and protect affordable housing for Cambridge residents,” said Deborah Ruhe, Just-A-Start’s Executive Director. “We are proud to be able to provide housing for those with disabilities as well as working families who cannot afford the high cost of living in the Cambridge. Rindge Tower will now be preserved for long-term affordability, providing quality housing that is close to public transit and all of the neighborhood’s amenities.”

MassHousing provided $21.1 million in construction and permanent financing, a $7.5 million bridge loan and a $1.5 million supplemental subordinate loan. Other funding sources for the $54.5 million project are Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) and a Just-A-Start Seller Note. The Stratford Capital Group purchased the tax credits, contributing $11 million in project financing.

“Cambridge is one of the most expensive housing markets in the country and working families can sometimes find it difficult to find an affordable place to live,” said MassHousing’s Timothy C. Sullivan. “We are pleased that this transaction preserves long-term affordable housing but also will provide important workforce housing at up to 95% AMI for almost a third of the units at Rindge Tower.”

The Rindge Tower Apartments were built in 1970 and are located in a 22-story building in the Alewife section of Cambridge. There is a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments. Rents for 165 of the apartments are subsidized through the federal Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment program. According to the 2010 U.S. census, more than 65% of all housing units in Cambridge are rentals, and Cambridge is the 10th densest incorporated city in the United States.

Among the many property improvements planned for the Rindge Towers are plumbing, electrical and mechanical upgrades, kitchen and bathroom renovations, building exterior improvements, the installation of security cameras, and the addition of 14 fully-accessible units. The owner also intends to improve the overall energy efficiency of the building through window repair and sealing, recommissioning the building’s co-generation heating plant for maximum efficiency, and using water pressure regulators to minimize waste.

The contractor will be Bilt-Rite Construction, Inc. and the architect is Davis Square Architects. The management agent is the Wingate Companies.