MassDevelopment Partners With Trio of Banks for $47.5 Million Redevelopment of Bancroft Building Into 258 Housing Units

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FRAMINGHAM – MassDevelopment has partnered with Avidia Bank, BayCoast Bank, and UniBank to provide 59 Fountain Framingham Owner, LLC with $47.5 million in loan financing to redevelop the former Bancroft building and surrounding property at 59 Fountain Street in Framingham into 258 market-rate and affordable rental housing units.

Avidia Bank, BayCoast Bank, and UniBank each provided $15 million loans, with MassDevelopment providing a $2.5 million loan.

59 Fountain Framingham Owner, LLC is an affiliate of Washington Square Ventures, Bedrock Estate Partners, and LaSalle Investment Management.

The development is expected to be complete January 2021, and will feature 160 loft-style units within the former mill building and 98 units in a new L-shaped, podium-style building that will feature outdoor balconies and underground parking. Residents will have access to nearby public transportation and other amenities such as an outdoor pool, patio deck, community room, workout facility, and walking trails.

“This project will breathe life into a historic mill building in Framingham and add hundreds of units to the Commonwealth’s housing stock,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “At a time when the need for more housing is greater than ever, MassDevelopment is proud to join a team of lenders willing and able to make this project a reality.”

“Avidia Bank, a new member of the Framingham community, was interested in helping finance the renovation of the property that would not only make necessary property upgrades, but also create a new, quality lifestyle community at the site and generate meaningful tax revenue for the City of Framingham,” said Avidia Bank Senior Vice President and Commercial Relationship Officer Andrew Miller. “Overall, this project is a win-win for the parties involved and for the City of Framingham, as it retains the history of the site while developing an impressive new location.”

“UniBank is excited to be a part of such an important project that will expand housing opportunities in Framingham,” said UniBank Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Banking Officer Tom McGregor. “Supporting Framingham and the greater MetroWest market is a priority to UniBank and its employees. We are proud to support this endeavor and partner with MassDevelopment and the bank group.”  

Originally constructed in 1910 as a shoe factory, the Bancroft building is a four-story wood-framed and concrete structure that overlooks Farm Pond and downtown Framingham. The building was later used to manufacture automobiles and headwear, and most recently, artists, artisans, and craftsmen utilized the building as a living and working space.

“The development presented Washington Square Ventures with the opportunity to preserve and transform a historic asset of Framingham industry, which had fallen into disrepair, into high-quality apartments sorely needed to support the significant retail, technology, and healthcare employment base in Framingham and the MetroWest market,” said Washington Square Ventures Managing Partner Justin Krebs. “My partner, Matt Faris, and I see this as a win-win for all stakeholders. In addition to the Bancroft building regaining its role as an economic engine of Framingham, it will also support the renaissance of downtown and increase real estate taxes five- to six-fold while providing 26 affordable units to the community.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.

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