Boston, MA. Law firm Nixon Peabody is proud to announce that client Beacon Communities has closed on financing to reimagine the historic Briscoe School in Beverly, Massachusetts, as a mixed-use development centered around affordable housing for seniors.
Known as Beverly Village for Living and the Arts, it will include 85 affordable apartments earmarked for low-income seniors and six live-work studios with an occupancy preference for artists. Beverly-based nonprofit Harborlight Homes (formerly Harborlight Community Partners) has partnered with Beacon Communities to redevelop the site. They are currently working to bring in a local partner to lease the school’s former auditorium to operate it as a community theater space.
Nixon Peabody advised Beacon Communities on the acquisition and complex financing for the project, which included federal and state low-income housing tax credits and federal and state historic tax credit equity, as well as financing from MassHousing and other state and local subsidy sources. Beverly Village for Living and the Arts will also be partially financed with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA)—the first time a Massachusetts affordable housing deal has incorporated funding from the federal COVID-19 stimulus package.
When the City of Beverly listed the site for sale in 2019, the city sought to renew the 100-year-old school building to support the need for affordable senior homes. This project expands on Beacon Communities’ substantial experience in adaptive reuse projects and incorporates Harborlight Homes’ mission of addressing local needs and fostering inclusive communities.
“This project will create a positive impact across the entire community—bringing people of all ages together through music, the arts, and outdoor activities, while also providing new, affordable, and service-enriched homes for local seniors,” said Dara Newman Histed, a Nixon Peabody Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner who led the firm’s deal team. “We’re thrilled for Beacon and Harborlight that Beverly Village for Living and the Arts is finally becoming a reality.”
Built in 1923, the Briscoe School served as a high school, junior high school, and middle school until it closed in 2018 after the City of Beverly built a new school. Beacon Communities and Harborlight Community Partners were chosen by the city to redevelop the site in 2019 and purchased the building in 2022.
In its next chapter, as Beverly Village for Living and the Arts, the Briscoe School will be a state-of-the-art, locally focused, environmentally respectful, and historically sensitive new community. The building was designed to LEED silver standards and will have sustainability- and health-promoting features, such as new energy-efficient windows and heating and cooling systems, added insulation, an Energy Recovery Ventilation system that consistently exhausts stale air and replaces it with fresh air in every single unit, LED lighting, low-flow water fixtures, healthy building materials, bike racks, electric vehicle charging stations, victory gardens with resident composting education, and a new stormwater infiltration system.
In addition to Histed, the Nixon Peabody deal team included counsels Barry Rothchild and Karla Chaffee, associate Jamie Flesch, and paralegal Vienna Kim.