Citizens Provides $40.7 Million Construction Loan for Phase III of the OH Public Housing Project

This week Citizens Bank announced today that its Community Development Group provided a $40.7 million construction loan to Trinity Financial to help Phase III of the Orient Heights Public Housing Development project get past the goalline. 

Four years after kicking off the three-phase redevelopment of the Orient Heights Public Housing Development Trinity Financial began construction on Phase III of the project in January. 

Like Phase I and Phase II, Phase III will tear down the old post World War II-era brick housing on Vallar Road and portions of Faywood Avenue and be replaced with 81 units of new public housing. 

Eva Erlich, vice president of development for Trinity Financial said an additional 42 units of existing public housing would be modernized as part of Phase III. 

Phase III will also include the construction of a centrally located park for residents, the demolition of the existing community center and the expansion of open space. 

The loan provides financing for the construction of the 81 new units and the modernization of the 42 existing units of affordable housing as part of the ongoing project. 

“This loan demonstrates Citizens’ strong commitment to support affordable housing options for Boston residents,” said Northeast Region Executive for Citizens Jerry Sargent. “Citizens’ Community Development Group is committed to improving the economic vitality of our communities and the financial acumen of our fellow citizens. The Group has committed more than $3 billion in loans and investments to support the development and rehabilitation of affordable housing units and economic revitalization activities in our communities. These efforts have resulted in more than 20,000 new or rehabilitated housing units and the development of more than 460,000 square feet of commercial space in low- and moderate-income communities served by Citizens.”

Erlich said Trinity was grateful to Citizens for their support of the third phase of the Orient Heights redevelopment.

“These resources will help to produce and preserve 123 much-needed affordable apartment homes in East Boston,” she said. “Trinity Financial believes in investing in communities and the people who live in those communities, and we’re pleased to partner with Citizens on this important project.”

The loan comes on the heels of a $19 million line item by Acting Mayor Kim Jnaey in the city’s budget a few months back. 

“Orient Heights has been a staple of the East Boston community for seven decades, and this investment will help to finish its redevelopment,” said Janey. “This investment preserves a vital housing resource and will secure a better quality of life for hundreds of East Boston families for decades to come.”

The $51. 6 million Phase II portion of the project wrapped up last summer on Vallar Road. There, crews demolished 87 old units in four buildings and constructed 88 replacement state-funded public housing units in two townhouse buildings and one mid-rise building. Phase II also included improvements to the existing infrastructure and open spaces. Phase II leveraged $10 million in proceeds from the sale of the Winthrop Square Garage, as well as $1.83 million in Inclusionary Development Policy Funds, secured from the Davis Companies’ 99 Sumner Street development in East Boston.

Phase III is part of the larger effort to transform the 331-unit BHA owned public housing development that was originally built in 1951. Trinity completed Phase I of the project in 2018 where 90 units of public housing were replaced with 120 units of public housing both in townhouse and apartment-style buildings.

In January 2015, the BHA selected the development team of Trinity Financial and East Boston Community Development Corp. to work with BHA and Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD) and finalize a redevelopment strategy for the site. This development team secured financing to implement the redevelopment, and will own and manage the buildings post-redevelopment.

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