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February 5, 2008

New Affordable Rental Housing Near Downtown

Editor’s note: To arrange photos of the School Street apartments, contact Valley CDC at 586-5855 ext. 19.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Two Northampton institutions are working together to rehabilitate and expand a building as a step toward increasing the availability of affordable housing. Smith College has provided $220,000 to subsidize the development of four new apartments at 46-48 School Street, part of a larger project that includes rehabilitating four additional units in that location. Valley Community Development Corporation (Valley CDC) is the owner and developer of the project.

These apartments, which are within walking distance from downtown, transportation, and recreation options such as Veteran’s Field, will add much-needed rental units to the region’s affordable housing stock. The eight apartments, comprised of three efficiencies, three one-bedrooms, one two-bedroom wheelchair accessible apartment and one three-bedroom apartment, are expected to be completed in the fall of 2008. Construction started in early December 2007.

“We are so pleased that Smith has joined us in this project,” said Joanne Campbell, executive director of Valley CDC. “Their support was critical in filling a major gap in financing. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

All the apartments will be subject to a 99-year deed restriction stipulating that they be rented to households earning no more than 80 percent of the area median income. More restrictive income limitations are in effect for the first 50 years, when six units will be rented to households earning 60% or less of the area median income and two apartments rented to households earning 50% or less.

Smith will underwrite the School Street project through its Affordable Housing Replacement Fund. The $3 million fund was established in the fall of 2003 as the college was planning its science expansion in the area of Green and West streets, an effort that required the removal of 26 college-owned apartments. A committee advisory to the college, whose members are selected by Smith’s president and Northampton’s mayor, reviews and makes recommendations on applications to the fund. Renovations and new construction at 36 Bedford Terrace/74 State Street, which resulted in 26 renovated and new apartments, represented the first use of the fund. As outlined in the Smith/Northampton development agreement, affordable housing that the college creates or subsidizes will offset any future units removed as part of Smith’s multi-decade science expansion, achieving the shared city-college goal of no net loss of housing near downtown.

Additional funding for the project includes permanent financing from the City of Northampton CDBG Program; Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund; the Department of Housing and Community Development’s HOME Program, Housing Stabilization Fund and CATNHP Fund; and a grant from the TD Banknorth Charitable Foundation. The project also received predevelopment financing from the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC).

The School Street project is the latest in Valley CDC’s efforts to add to the affordable housing stock in the region. Since 2004, Valley CDC has created or preserved 41 units of affordable rental housing in Northampton.

Valley CDC and Smith look forward to more opportunities to collaborate on affordable housing projects.

Established in 1988, Valley CDC is a non-profit corporation that addresses the needs of low- and moderate-income people in its service area, which includes Northampton, through developing and preserving affordable rental and ownership housing, cultivating economic self-sufficiency and fostering community leadership.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Laurie Fenlason
Smith College
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

Joanne Campbell
Valley CDC
(413) 586-5855 ext. 19

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