WinnCompanies begins $11.2M Worcester rehab

BY Zachary Comeau

WinnCompanies is beginning the $11.2 million rehabilitation of the Wellington Community, pictured here.

Boston residential developer WinnCompanies has started the $11.2-million renovation of the Wellington Community, a historic 180-unit housing development for elderly and low-income residents in Worcester.
The project includes upgrading the interior and exterior of 11 buildings, 10 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The start of the project was announced by both MassHousing and WinnCompanies on Monday. 
The site, located at Wellington Street, Ethan Allen Street, Jacques Avenue and Irving Street, includes 69 one-bedroom apartments, 85 two-bedroom apartments, 20 three-bedroom apartments and 6 four-bedroom apartments.
Improvements will include restoration of masonry exteriors, replacement of roofs, installation of historically-sensitive doors and windows, handicap accessibility improvements and energy-efficient mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
Mechanical system upgrades are slated for the apartments, including cabinetry, appliances and fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms.
MassHousing is providing WinnCompanies with $16.4 million in permanent affordable housing financing, the state agency said, adding that tax-exempt financing generated $9.1 million in equity for the project through federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.
According to MassHousing, other sources include $2.4 million in federal historic tax credit financing, $1.5 million from an allocation of state historic tax credits, $3.1 million in owner equity, deferred fees and reserves, and $500,000 from the city of Worcester. 
Bank of America is providing a $22.3 million construction loan. 
The project will not only include the renovation of the property, but also help maintain the affordability for 30 years, WinnCompanies said in a press release.
“We’re proud to not only reinvest in this property but also to preserve it as affordable housing for decades to come,” said Gilbert Winn, CEO of WinnCompanies, which has owned and managed the site for 35 years. Thanks to our partners at the city and MassHousing, it will continue to play an important role in Worcester’s rental housing inventory well into the future.”
In a statement, City Manager Edward Augustus said the project illustrates the city’s commitment to preserving affordable housing.
“Through state, federal and private resources, the rehabilitation of the Wellington Community provides a great opportunity for the City of Worcester to reinvest in a historic urban neighborhood that has been an important part of our community for generations,” he said.