Brandy Hill Apartment's $8.6 million renovation nearly done

Officials to celebrate housing preservation
Oct 4, 2017

Once in danger of losing their affordable housing, residents of Brandy Hill Apartments, a 132-unit complex off Minot Avenue, are instead looking at the results of a recently completed $8.6 million renovation.

On Oct. 20, state and local officials as well as Brandy Hill residents will come together to celebrate the renovation at a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The renovations mark the first major upgrade the complex has had since it was first built in 1972, said Kevin Baptista, title asset management director for the Preservation of Affordable Housing.

The Boston-based nonprofit purchased the complex in 2010, six years before its affordability restrictions were due to expire. Last October, the nonprofit closed on the recapitalization and refinancing on the apartment complex through a 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit, according to Marie Plati, communications director for the Preservation of Affordable Housing. Under recapitalization, the apartment complex’s debt was restructured.

In addition to securing $8 million for the renovations, the move preserved the Section 8 housing status of 97 apartments for the next 20 years. Section 8 is a federal program that allows the payment of rental assistance to private landlords.

Maintaining Brandy Hill’s affordable housing status is good news for the town as well. If the number of affordable homes in a town is below the state’s threshold, which is 10 percent of total housing units, then developers may bypass some local zoning laws and build projects more densely than zoning bylaws allow.

Since 40B – a state housing law – was enacted in 1969, Wareham has never met that quota. The result has been the construction of 19 developments in town built under 40B that offer affordable housing options.

State Rep. Susan Williams Gifford (R-Wareham) applauded the nonprofit’s efforts.

“This certainly is a win - win situation for the residents and the town...Wareham is struggling to meet the 10 percent threshold of affordable housing units and control our own destiny in regard to 40B developers. Losing this status would have been a real detriment,” she said.

With the funds, the complex’s 11 residential buildings and one community building all received major renovations, said Baptista. In addition to minor upgrades to bathrooms, fire safety systems, floors and kitchens the renovations included the installation of five new roofs and HardiePlank siding, a durable alternative to vinyl siding, said Baptista.

He also noted that energy efficiency measures should reduce utility bills for residents. In addition to the upgrades, seven apartments are now handicap accessible and fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, including the apartment complex’s playground.

All together, the renovations were extensive, he said.

“This is the biggest rehabilitation undertaken at the property since it was originally constructed,” said Baptista.