Pennrose has converted a historic school into the Mary D. Stone Apartments, which provides studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartment homes for seniors in the Boston suburb of Auburn.
RED_SKIES_PHOTOGRAPHY Pennrose has converted a historic school into the Mary D. Stone Apartments, which provides studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartment homes for seniors in the Boston suburb of Auburn.

A 1920s-era school has been transformed into a 55-unit mixed-income housing community for seniors in Auburn, Massachusetts.

Developed by Pennrose, the Mary D. Stone Apartments offers residents studio, one-, and two-bedroom units to help fill the need for affordable housing in the region. Eighty percent of the units are aimed at seniors at or below 60% of the area median income. The remaining units will be leased at market rents.

As part of the rehabilitation of the historic elementary school, the team demolished later built wings and constructed a new addition.

The contemporary apartments feature modern kitchen finishes with an electric range and a dishwasher, spacious closets, central A/C, on-site laundry facilities, and 24-hour maintenance. Residents will also enjoy ample community amenities, including secured access entry, professionally landscaped grounds, on-site management, and community lounges and public meeting spaces. As part of the development, Pennrose also contributed $25,000 to the town for new playground equipment behind the building and added landscaping and benches to enhance the area for community use.

“We are proud to join our incredible partner, the town of Auburn, and the project’s many advocates to celebrate the transformation of a historic community asset into high-quality housing for seniors,” said Charlie Adams, regional vice president at Pennrose. “Seniors are one of the groups most vulnerable to our nation’s affordable housing crisis. We are thrilled to open the doors to a safe, affordable community where seniors can live vibrant lives and remain active members of the community.”

The community was designed with local input to ensure the development meets the needs of future residents and neighbors alike. An aging-in-place charrette, co-sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners and Pennrose, was hosted to brainstorm and prioritize important elements of quality senior housing that address isolation issues and promote mental and physical health. Attendees included town officials, the local Council on Aging, the Elder Services of Worcester, Fallon Health, the Auburn Senior Center, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

“This project is a shining example of what a successful public-private partnership can accomplish when local, state, and federal officials work collaboratively with the developer to facilitate an impactful redevelopment project,” said Auburn town manager Julie A. Jacobson. “This beautiful building is a testament to Auburn’s past history and a beacon of its future—a community that supports quality housing for seniors.”

The approximately $21.5 million development was supported with financing secured from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in the form of 9% federal low-income housing tax credits, state housing credits, Housing Stabilization Funds, and HOME funds. CREA provided the federal housing credit equity, and Dorfman Capital provided the state housing and historic tax credit equity.

In addition, MassHousing provided Affordable Housing Trust Fund money; Community Economic Development Assistance Corp., Community Based Housing funds; Massachusetts Housing Partnership, permanent financing; and Citizens Bank, construction financing. BlueHub Loan Fund served as a state tax credit intermediary.

Pennrose is also partnering with the town to develop Julia Bancroft Apartments, the rehabilitation of a historic school into a 60-unit senior affordable housing community. The project is anticipated to open in fall 2022. Pennrose is active throughout Massachusetts and the New England region, with an office in Boston