Development

Beacon Communities Development is a full service multi-family residential development company.

Since 2004, Beacon Communities has completed construction, financial restructuring or substantial rehabilitation on over 8,200 apartments in over 60 transactions. We have proven skills to undertake complex residential real estate transactions. We design, permit, and build developments that range from the adaptive reuse of historic urban buildings to garden-style suburban developments. Each of our developments have varying degrees of permitting, planning, and financing complexity.

In 2016, Beacon opened offices in Albany, NY extending Beacon’s development footprint into the New York region. The Beacon New York office will work to continue to source new deals and provide day to day project management services: from project planning and financial structuring, through construction and close-out.

We have extensive experience with complicated permitting. Beacon Communities Development has successfully permitted many sites that had significant environmental and land use challenges. These include wetlands, river crossings, rare species, environmental contamination, historic preservation restrictions, noise attenuation difficulties, and mine subsidence problems.

We confront permitting carefully and thoroughly, allowing us to respect and improve the natural and built environments, meet regulatory requirements, and achieve our developments’ programmatic needs.

We embrace financial complexity. We have extensive experience with private and public financing sources. Many of our transactions involve multiple federal, state, and local funding sources, including low-income housing tax credits, historic preservation tax credits, public housing funding, housing vouchers, and public soft debt, as well as private debt.

We are partners. At Beacon, we understand how to work with joint venture partners, resident organizations, and neighborhood groups as well as local, state, and federal governments. Our aim is to address the wide variety of needs and concerns of all our stakeholders and constituents.

View our case studies
  • Wilber School Apartments

    Historic school that served generations is rejuvenated, bringing new life to a suburban town center

    Location

    Sharon, MA

    Profile

    Mixed-income rental, adaptive reuse, historic rehabilitation

    Unit Count

    75 apartments in historic building and new addition

    Financing

    LIHTC, historic rehabilitation tax credits, Massachusetts Housing Partnership debt, state soft debt

    Completion

    2010

    With its exquisite architecture, town center location, and sentimental place in the hearts of its former students, the Wilber School was a strong candidate for historic preservation after it closed in the early 1980s.

    However, would-be developers were thwarted for decades. Over the years, the building had been slated for demolition, but community activists ultimately succeeded in keeping the building intact while the Town of Sharon initiated a competitive bid process to find a developer. Frontier Enterprises won that bid process and invited Beacon Communities to be part of a joint development effort.

    Among the many challenges was designing a successful addition to the original historic structure. The final design, by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates, references the original architecture without replicating or overpowering it. To unify the two parts of the building, the brick used in the addition was carefully selected to match the original brick – and was produced by the same company that made the original bricks in the 1920s!

    The meticulous work of historic preservation seamlessly coexists with modern sustainability practices at the redeveloped site. Wilber School Apartments received Gold certification under the LEED for Homes program as well as certification under the EPA’s Energy Star Homes program.

    Awards:
    Listed on the National Register of Historic Places
    2010 J. Timothy Anderson Award for Best Historic Rehab Involving New Construction
    2010 Sharon Historical Commission Preservation Award
    2012 NAA Paragon Award, Best Affordable Community
    2012 NAHMA Vanguard Award, Major Rehabilitation of a Historic Structure
    2012 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award
    2012 Preservation Massachusetts Paul E. Tsongas Award

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    Wilber School Apartments

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  • Dorado Apartments

    Affordable housing preserved in one of the country’s most competitive real estate markets

    Location

    Yonkers, NY

    Profile

    Affordable rental, preservation, moderate rehabilitation

    Unit Count

    189 units in 17-story high-rise

    Financing

    RAD, LIHTC, New York State Housing Finance Agency debt

    Completion

    Anticipated 2016

    From the higher floors of Dorado Apartments, residents are treated to sweeping views of the Hudson River. The train to New York City is steps away, and city conveniences and amenities are nearby. The aging affordable housing property was thus a tempting target for conversion to market, especially because its subsidy programs were expiring.

    Beacon Communities worked with state and local officials as well as the building’s owner, investors, lenders, and residents to formulate a strategy for saving and restoring Dorado Apartments. The first step was working with Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Yonkers to use HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program to replace the expiring subsidies and put Dorado on track towards long-term affordability.

    After closing on the complex financing package required, Beacon has undertaken significant improvements to the building, including converting the electric heat and hot water system to gas, adding new security and access systems, constructing a contemporary management office, creating fully accessible apartments for residents with mobility impairments, and renovating all the apartments. The property meets and exceeds the green building requirements of NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program.

    Beacon’s management practices and demonstrated financial commitment to the building have rebuilt trust with the residents and helped encourage the flourishing of a new sense of community.

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    Dorado Apartments

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  • The Homes at Old Colony

    One of Boston’s toughest housing projects, demolished and rebuilt from the ground up

    Location

    South Boston, MA

    Profile

    affordable rental, new construction, multiphase

    Unit Count

    285 apartments in 15 residential buildings and a learning center

    Financing

    LIHTC, HOPE VI, ARRA, MassHousing debt, City of Boston soft debt, state soft debt

    Completion

    2011, 2014, 2015

    In December of 2009, Beacon Communities was selected to execute the redevelopment of Old Colony, one of Boston’s most distressed and challenging public housing projects.  Built in 1940, Old Colony is the Boston Housing Authority’s largest housing development, originally comprised of 32 three-story brick walk-ups with 845 units of housing.

    The first phase of the redevelopment was designed, permitted, and financed in a record 10 months in order to meet the requirements of its 2009 stimulus bill financing.  Subsequent phases have followed, resulting in a radically transformed community.  A new street grid reconnects Old Colony with the surrounding neighborhood and creates visual connections to the City and waterfront, and the new mix of building types, backyards, and courtyards creates a revived streetscape.

    The development has received multiple green design certifications, including LEED for Homes Platinum, LEED for New Construction Platinum, LEED for Neighborhood Development, Energy Star, and HUD’s Enterprise Green criteria.

    The community has been transformed along with the buildings themselves.  The new Tierney Learning Center is a hub of activity for everyone from toddlers to adults.  Residents played an active role in the planning process and are thrilled with and empowered by the community that they helped re-envision.

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    The Homes at Old Colony

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  • Ames Shovel Works

    Ames Shovel Works makes history again with groundbreaking public-private partnership

    Location

    Easton, MA

    Profile

    Mixed-income rental, adaptive reuse, historic rehabilitation

    Unit Count

    113 apartments in 7 historic buildings and a building housing local arts and business organizations

    Financing

    LIHTC, historic rehabilitation tax credits, Massachusetts Housing Partnership debt, Town of Easton debt, state soft debt

    Completion

    2014

    In 1774, Captain John Ames began making the iron shovels that would establish his family’s business for the next two centuries. Starting in the 1850s, the Ames Shovel & Tool Company built a sprawling manufacturing complex in North Easton, Massachusetts. This complex once employed over 500 workers and used linear assembly methods 50 years before Henry Ford to build shovels that were shipped across the globe.

    In 2008, a developer who controlled the site proposed demolishing significant portions of the complex. Easton leaders and community groups rallied to preserve the site, involving Beacon Communities to obtain control of the property and execute an ambitious historic preservation redevelopment in partnership with the Town.

    The Town contributed significant financial resources to the development and also developed a neighborhood wastewater treatment plant on the site. The redevelopment of Ames Shovel Works, coupled with the increased wastewater capacity provided by the treatment plant, has catalyzed the redevelopment of North Easton Village, where several new restaurants and establishments have flourished since construction was completed.

    Certified LEED Silver and Gold, the revived buildings at Ames Shovel Works provide residents from all walks of life with modern, historically-respectful, light-filled apartments.

    Awards:
    2014 J. Timothy Anderson Award for Best Historic Rehab Utilizing LIHTCs – Large
    2014 MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce Economic Impact Award
    2014 Prism Award for Best Multi/Single Family Re-use or Conversion
    2015 Preservation Massachusetts Paul E. Tsongas Award
    2015 Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award

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    Ames Shovel Works

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  • Edmands House Apartments

    Preserving and improving existing affordable housing to last for future decades

    Location

    Framingham, MA

    Profile

    Affordable rental, preservation, moderate rehabilitation

    Unit Count

    190 units in two six-story buildings

    Financing

    LIHTC, Citibank debt, state soft debt, Town of Framingham soft debt

    Completion

    2014

    With outdated amenities and systems, Edmands House Apartments, an affordable housing development built in 1973, had not kept pace with the surrounding neighborhood of Nobscot, a picturesque neighborhood in Framingham, Massachusetts.

    Beacon was able to acquire the property and refinance it in a major transaction that preserved long-term affordability and generated funds for much-needed improvements.

    Edmands House has been transformed. A significant amount of underutilized common space was revitalized, and now the development’s amenities include a fitness center, computer learning center, community room, and new walks and landscaping. Safety improvements include security cameras, keycard access systems, and LED lighting in the courtyard, covered plazas, and common areas. The property’s hallways, common areas, and management offices have been completely updated. All units were upgraded with energy-efficient appliances. Beacon installed a co-generation unit and replaced the previous electric heat and hot water systems with gas-fired systems consisting of high efficiency boilers and hydronic baseboards. Common areas are climate controlled by programmed thermostats.

    Through the process of preserving and extending housing affordability, Beacon actually increased the number of affordable apartments at Edmands House. Accessibility improvements were implemented throughout the site, and 10 apartments were renovated to be fully accessible for residents with mobility impairments.

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    Edmands House Apartments

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  • Cambridge-Oxford Apartments

    Historic buildings adjacent to Yale University renovated and repositioned as luxury market rate housing

    Location

    New Haven, CT

    Profile

    Market rate rental, adaptive reuse, historic rehabilitation

    Unit Count

    85 apartments in 3 historic buildings

    Financing

    Historic rehabilitation tax credits, FHA permanent debt

    Completion

    2002

    The Cambridge Arms and Oxford apartment buildings were constructed in 1925 and 1910, respectively, to house single men and women moving to New Haven for work in offices and at Yale University. This demographic required modest, affordable housing near their workplaces. The developers and architects creating this housing borrowed from the architecture of the day, including the neo-gothic buildings of James Gamble Rogers at Yale. Thus, the architecture of Cambridge-Oxford Apartments incorporates the same medieval detailing, picturesque forms, and sensuality of materials as many of Yale’s buildings from the same period.

    At the start of the 21st century, these buildings had fallen into disrepair, and high-end rental housing adjacent to Yale University was in short supply. Beacon Communities realized that New Haven’s young professionals, along with the many professional, graduate, and undergraduate students at Yale University, represented a tremendous untapped market.

    Beacon undertook a yearlong construction project to renovate the buildings while preserving and restoring their historic features. Construction was completed in the spring of 2002. The apartments were fully leased during the 2002-2003 school year at rates that immediately met pro-forma goals. In the years since, the rents and property value have increased significantly.

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    Cambridge Oxford Apartments

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