Located in the heart of Harvard Square, Chapman Arms Apartments was purchased by Homeowner’s Rehab, Inc. (HRI) in December 2011. Also known as Craigie Arms Apartments, the property is a mixed-use mixed-income development containing 25 affordable apartments, 25 market-rate apartments, and commercial space.
The acquisition made headlines throughout Massachusetts because it was the first time that the state’s recently enacted housing preservation legislation – Chapter 40T – had been put to the test. Affordability restrictions on the 25 affordable units were scheduled to expire in 2016, and when the property was offered for sale in 2011, the possibility that these units would be converted to market-rate housing was a serious risk. Under Chapter 40T, the seller was required to first entertain offers from HRI, the state’s designated representative. After some negotiation, the seller accepted HRI’s offer, thus ensuring the long-term preservation of this important housing resource.
Efforts to preserve this housing benefited greatly from the resolve of the City Council, local housing advocates, and the tenants who worked to bring attention to the need for timely action to protect their homes. Funding for the purchase was provided by the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust and CEDAC. The coordinated work of the City, HRI and Harvard University (as owner of the land beneath the building), the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and CEDAC was necessary to ensure HRI's success in purchasing and preserving the affordability of the historic 50-unit Chapman Arms.
With affordability now preserved, HRI will be assembling funding to begin renovations at the property.