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The Union Square Apartments at 181 Washington Street, Somerville, Mass., are a few blocks from the anticipated new Green Line stops at Washington Street and Union Square. The four-story property features 35 affordable residential units and 2,400 sq. ft. of ground floor commercial space.  

Project Background

The development was originally the Pope Elementary School and then became the Boys and Girls Club in 1980. SCC purchased the property in 2012 after the Boys and Girls Club had closed its Somerville center and began marketing the property in 2010. The Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) provided an acquisition and predevelopment loan to SCC to purchase the property and develop plans for redeveloping it into affordable housing.

The property provides nine one-bedroom, 22 two-bedroom, and four three-bedroom apartments – all for families earning at or below 60% of the area median income, which for a family of four is $58,860. Eight of the apartments are set aside for families earning at or below 30% of area median income, three of which are for families with physical disabilities or impairments, and two are for homeless families.

New Ecology, Inc. assisted in designing the building to meet LEED for Homes Mid-rise Certification (Platinum Level) and ENERGY STAR Multi-Family High Rise Certification. For more detailed information on the building’s energy and sustainable features, click https://somervillecdc.org/181-washington-sustainable-location-healthy-living-connections-community and https://somervillecdc.org/181-washington-water-and-energy. The project architect is Dimella Shaffer. Dellbrook/JKS Construction provided construction management for the project.

Sources of funding include federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity allocated by the Commonwealth’s Department of Housing and Community Development and purchased by First Sterling; State Affordable Housing Trust Funds through MassHousing; Housing Stabilization Funds through Department of Housing and Community Development; Federal HOME and Somerville Affordable Housing Trust funds through the City of Somerville; HUD McKinney funds; Community-Based Housing funds administered by CEDAC; project-based Section 8 subsidies administered by Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership; construction funds from Eastern Bank.

The permanent lender for the project is the Massachusetts Housing Partnership.

Learn the story of SCC - watch the mini documentary:

Members of the community in Somerville, MA come together for an illuminated walk to bring attention to gentrification and housing affordability in East Somerville. Produced in collaboration with the Somerville Community Corporation and Mister Francis. Written, directed, and edited by Andrew Eldridge. Produced by Elizabeth Eldridge, Andrew Eldridge.

For tenants of the 100 Homes program, if you are in need of an urgent repair please call 1-617-863-2391. For life-threatening or other emergencies please call 911.

Somerville sits on the original homelands of the Massachusett, Wampanoag, Naumkeag, and Nipmuc tribal nations. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory, and we honor and respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land on which we live and work.

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