Boston, MA. Nixon Peabody is pleased to have advised Capstone Communities and MPZ Development on an affordable housing project involving the redevelopment of a former schoolhouse in Bridgewater, MA. The project had its groundbreaking ceremony on October 12.
Amid the nationwide affordable housing shortage, earlier this year Capstone Communities and MPZ Development acquired the former McElwain School—which sat vacant for more than 20 years—to meet the need for high-quality housing in the region.
Plans call for the rehabilitation and conversion of the McElwain School into a 16-unit residential building and construction of a new 38-unit residential Passive House (PHIUS) building behind the school. The project includes a three-unit house purchased next door to the property, and the developers will create a park and plaza for community use. Of the 57 total units, 51 will be affordable rental units, while six will be market-rate.
Nixon Peabody advised the developers on the predevelopment, acquisition, permitting, and construction financing, which closed on May 28, 2021. The financing included construction and permanent financing, state funding, Town of Bridgewater CPA funds, federal and state low-income housing tax credits, federal and state historic tax credits, and solar tax credits. The McElwain School was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.
“Capstone Communities and MPZ Development had the vision and focus to see this project through and bring much-needed affordable housing to the area,” said Julie Stande, a senior associate in Nixon Peabody’s Affordable Housing & Real Estate practice. “We are thrilled for our clients and the community that this project is officially underway.”
Located in the Greater Boston area, Bridgewater has a stop on the Middleborough/Lakeville line of the MBTA Commuter Rail and is accessible by multiple highways. The town is also in close proximity to Providence, RI, and is home to Bridgewater State University.
“Nixon Peabody has been a key member of our team from the project’s inception in 2017,” said Jason Korb and Mathieu Zahler, principals of Capstone Communities and MPZ Development, respectively. “The firm provides the highest level of service to its clients and we could not have successfully closed this project without Julie and her team’s thoughtful guidance, knowledge, and commitment. Our more than 10-year relationship with Nixon Peabody speaks for itself—their lawyers are some of the best in the business and are invaluable members of our team.”
In addition to Stande, the Nixon Peabody deal team included late partner Ruth Silman, partner Paul Bouton, and associate Ali Walendziak.