EBSB Continues to Invest in East Boston Neighborhood

East Boston Savings Bank Chairman and CEO Dick Gavegnano announced this week that the bank’s total assets increased $596.4 million, or 22.2 percent, from $2.682 billion to $3.279 billion from December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2014.

The bank has also been able to raise $325 million in capitol that is going right back into the community as the bank funds numerous big projects around Eastie.

Net loans increased $383.5 million from $2.265 billion to $2.649 billion over the year. Gavegnano said the net increase in loans for the year was primarily due to increases of $174.9 million in commercial real estate loans, $83.7 million in commercial business loans, $60.1 million in multi-family loans and $57.2 million in construction loans.

However, it is the increase in construction loans through the capitol raised that has Gavegnano elated.

“This capitol has given us incredible punching power to put money back into the communities we do business in–especially in East Boston where our story started,” said Gavegnano, who grew up on Neptune Road in Eastie. “We are a blue collar bank with white collar lending. It’s very important to support our roots and support our community. There was a time when people turned their nose up at East Boston but now it is one of the hottest markets, so we are excited to be putting money we raise back into supporting the community and its future.”

In the past year EBSB has approved numerous construction loans for several big projects in Eastie.

At the Seville Theater project on Meridian Street, the bank funded a $16 million construction loan to build 66 condominiums in a six story structure.Eight of the units will be affordable. Two ground level floors will host retail and commercial uses. On site bicycle storage and 44 on-site parking spaces will be included in the project. The project will also include streetscaping improvements to the area, including new landscaping on Border Street near Liberty Plaza Shopping Center, and rehabilitation and maintenance of the public alley and stairwell abutting the project.

The bank has also funded the new hotel on a long neglected parcel of land along Boardman Street and McClellan Highway with $16 million. The Boston Redevelopment Authority approved Fall River based developer First Bristol Corp. $32 million project to build a Hilton Garden Inn in Eastie. The BRA approved First Bristol s plans to build a five story, 177 rooms Hilton Garden Inn hotel. After the hotel is built, First Bristol will still have approximately 10,000 sq. ft. to work with and plans to build space for casual dining restaurants and retail opportunities. The approved project also includes 346 parking spaces, new sidewalks, street trees, planters, and lighting.

EBSB also backed the construction of 245 Sumner Street with $7 million. The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) approved the development of a large mixed-use private development at 245 Sumner Street in Jeffries Point. The project will replace an existing warehouse with a new four-story, mixed-use building within walking distance of the Maverick MBTA Blue Line station. The project will create 34 residential units, including five affordable units, and 2,257 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Thirty-four parking spaces will be built below grade, and bicycle storage space will also be created. Community benefits include widened public sidewalks along Sumner and Orleans Streets, which will feature new landscaping and street trees.

A project to bring 32 rental units to Bremen Street received $5.5 million from EBSB. The BRA approved the development of 70 Bremen Street, a site that was once used as an overflow parking lot for the Rapino Funeral Home. The 70 Bremen Street Development will include 32 residential units and two ground floor commercial units in a five-story building. Five of the units will be affordable. The project includes 30 parking spaces and 34 bicycle storage spaces on site. The developer will also complete sidewalk and streetscape improvements along Bremen Street.

“There are othersß like $2.3 million for 41-43 Saratoga St. to build 18 units of housing as well as a couple of million for a project on Princeton Street,” said EBSB Vice President of Commercial Lending John Migliozzi. “We go from big to small so our lending runs the whole gamut. Ten years ago people couldn’t spell ‘Eastie” and now it is getting the long overdue recognition it deserves and our lending reflects that.”

Both Migliozzi and Gavegnano both said it was only a matter of time before Eastie caught up with the rest of Boston’s waterfront districts.

“It is being recognized finally as the gem it always was,” said Gavegnano. “You got exposure to the water, affordability, close proximity to downtown and great restaurants and businesses so we are accommodating the inflow of interest in financing these important projects.”

The lending not only creates housing but it also creates jobs, said Gavegnano.

“There is a trickle down effect here,” said Gavegnano. “You are not only creating housing but construction jobs and as these building become occupied you have more people living in the community and supporting local businesses.”

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