New England Real Estate Journal (August 27, 2021)
According to Westmass Area Development Corp. (Westmass) and WinnDevelopment with state financing now in place, construction is expected to begin in early 2022 on a $29.9 million project to transform the landmark Mill 8 at the historic Ludlow Mills complex into 95 mixed- income apartments for adults 55 and older and a center for supportive healthcare services.
The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) recently announced new tax credits and subsidies to support the next phase of the ambitious adaptive reuse project, focusing on the section of the 116-year-old complex that contains the clock tower shown on the town’s seal. The Mill 8 project follows the successful transformation of Mill 10, which offers 75 units of mixed-income housing for adults 55 and older.
“There is a three to five-year wait for vacancies in the Residences at Mill 10, proving how vitally important it is to deliver additional quality apartment homes to seniors in and around Ludlow,” said Larry Curtis, president and managing partner of WinnDevelopment. “The continued support of the Baker-Polito Administration was the last piece of the financing puzzle needed for us to begin the next phase of work to preserve and revive one of the town’s most treasured historic assets.”
Overseen by WinnDevelopment senior vice president Adam Stein and senior project director Lauren Canepari, the project has received enthusiastic support from the local, state and federal officials representing Ludlow. The town has committed state and federal monies for several key infrastructure improvements, including the ongoing construction of Riverside Dr. and the addition of a wastewater pumping station for the area. In addition, the National Park Service has committed federal historic tax credits to the effort.
“Projects like Mill 8 that bring mixed-unit, affordable housing to the community are an important part of the solution required to address the Commonwealth’s housing crisis and our administration is proud to support them,” said governor Charlie Baker. “Unlocking additional opportunities for community and economic development across the state will require more housing of all types in every corner of Massachusetts, and this project stands as an example of how we can continue making progress toward our goals.”
Support from the Baker-Polito Administration includes federal and state low-income housing tax credits, as well as monies from the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Housing Stabilization Fund and HOME program.
“The Commonwealth’s housing crisis will only be resolved by the production of more housing and through more projects like Mill 8,” said secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy. “Thanks to their many partners and the town of Ludlow, these new units will be specially designed for families of all incomes and with supportive services to help people stay in the community they call home.”
The 95 apartments to be built inside Mill 8 will cater to a wide range of incomes, offering 43 affordable units for rent at 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), 40 market units, and 12 extremely low-income units available at 30% of AMI. The first phase of the project, now known as the Residences at Mill 10, is 88% affordable.
“The cost of housing is one of the single greatest challenges facing our Commonwealth and that challenge has been amplified dramatically by the pandemic,” said state senator Eric Lesser. “This development will be a welcome addition to Ludlow with 95 new affordable housing units. It will unlock opportunity and alleviate some pressure for housing access right here in Western Mass.”
In addition to modern apartments, the project has partnered with WestMass Eldercare to create a 5,000 s/f adult day health center inside the building that will provide on-site, enhanced supportive services to residents of Mill 8 and Mill 10, including nurse visits, a service coordinator, healthy living programming and transportation to the nearby Ludlow Senior Center.
“I am proud to see the public and private partnership between federal, state, and local government with Westmass Area Development Corp. and WinnDevelopment to breathe new life into the iconic Mill 8,” said state representative Jake Oliveira. “As the project enters its next stage, I’m excited to see the clock tower mill building that adorns our town seal to finally become fully functional once again.”
The redeveloped property also will contain common area amenities, including on-site laundry facilities, on-site management, a fitness room, a resident lounge, and several outside recreation areas to serve future residents.
“Since Westmass began this project over 10 years ago, it has always been a priority to get Mill #8 redeveloped,” said Antonio Dos Santos, board chair, Westmass Area Development Corp. “This building has the marquee presence of the entire mill complex and we are excited that the transformation of this iconic building will be getting underway soon.”
Nearly 43,000 s/f of space on the first floor of Mill 8 will be available for lease to local businesses.
“As Westmass continues its redevelopment of the Ludlow Mills, we are excited to see the long-awaited Mill #8 transformation begin. Westmass will also benefit from this as we will retain the majority of the first floor for commercial development,” said Jeff Daley, president & CEO of Westmass Area Development Corp. “As we pull together different uses in the Mills complex, housing is one of the priorities and we are excited to partner again with WinnDevelopment with the continued support of the Baker-Polito Administration.
The design and construction in Mill 8 will meet the standards of Enterprise Green Communities (EGC), an environmental certification program for affordable housing that includes milestones for water conservation, energy efficiency, healthy materials, and green operations and management.
The Westmass Area Development Corp. (Westmass) is an experienced, private not-for-profit industrial and business development corporation created to promote and assist business growth in western Massachusetts. Westmass’ demonstrated record of success includes development of over 2,500 acres in 13 industrial parks and projects; enabling the build-out of over 12 million s/f of commercial space and residential units; leveraging $400 million in invested resources on our developments; and helping create over 10,000 jobs.