Major Renovations at Bernard E. Mason to Preserve Affordable Housing
Preview event to showcase a $38 million RAD conversion in progress
Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) Executive Director Paul T. Graziano and PIRHL Developers, LLC, joined residents and city, state, community partners to celebrate the transformation of the Bernard E. Mason Apartments. Through HUD’s Rental Demonstration Program (RAD), PIRHL is in the process of an extensive, $38 million rehabilitation of the 223-unit apartment building located in western Baltimore. The preview event showcased the RAD conversion in progress, offering before and after observations of this significant project that will preserve affordable housing for residents.
“We are pleased to take this major step in the renovation of the Bernard E. Mason Apartments, in collaboration with PIRHL and the residents,” said Paul T. Graziano, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. “The RAD program will ensure that those who live in B.E. Mason and the other sites being renovated throughout the City will live in affordable comfort for years to come.”
Built in 1979, Bernard E. Mason Apartments is a 223-unit apartment building in western Baltimore. As one of the first Rental Assistance Demon¬stration deals in Baltimore City, BE Mason is receiving more than $38 million in extensive renovations and will remain permanently affordable to low-income households. This affordable housing redevelopment also represents a new way of revitalizing housing that focuses on the health and other needs of community residents.
The Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) selected The Partnership for Income Restricted Housing Leadership (PIRHL) in 2013 as its co-owner and development partner to convert all 223 units at BE Mason from public housing into Project Based Section 8 rental units under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. The building will be expanded to 225 units by converting the existing office space on the first floor to two new 1-bedroom apartment units.
The BE Mason project closed in November 2015. Renovations are expected to be complete by early 2017. BE Mason involved a complicated financing structure utilizing an FHA-insured mortgage, housing tax credits and tax exempt bonds through the MD Department of Housing and Community Development and equity investment. The investments made at BE Mason brings private market discipline to public housing and ensures the building’s long-term sustainability.
“This is a process that began in 2013 when the Housing Authority selected PIRHL to be a co-owner and developer and take the project through the RAD conversion. BE Mason involved a complicated financing structure utilizing an FHA-insured mortgage, Housing Tax Credits and Tax-Exempt Bonds through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and equity investment," said Dave Uram, Principal of PIRHL. "The investments made at BE Mason brings private market discipline to public housing and ensures the building’s long-term sustainability. PIRHL’s construction team is leading a major effort and we’re pleased with the results thus far.”
The extensive renovation of BE Mason will modernize the property and upgrade building systems to improve resident comfort. The renovations will be done to Enterprise Green Communities standards.
Renovations will include:
• The first floor common areas and office will be upgraded with new ceilings, Energy Star light fixtures, furnishings and repainted walls;
• New flooring throughout the building;
• New roof for the building
• New HVAC (VRF)
• Replaced water lines in the building
• The existing 20 UFAS units will be updated to make them fully handicapped accessible
• New storefront windows on the first floor
• Remodeled community space and amenities: new fitness center, computer center, and wellness room will be created for residents;
• The resident council office will be relocated to a new space;
• Both laundry rooms will be updated with new appliances, flooring and paint;
• A new key entry system will be installed, as well as additional security cameras throughout the building;
The units will receive significant updates including:
o New stove, cabinets, counters, appliances, flooring and refrigerator in every unit
o Low-flow plumbing fixtures
o Remodeled bathroom in every unit
o New Energy Star appliances and lighting fixtures
o A controllable programmable thermostat was added to every unit
PIRHL was founded in August 2004 as a Cleveland-based owner, developer, and general contractor of affordable family and senior housing. PIRHL builds lasting relationships with its community-based partners, thereby ensuring the development of high-quality affordable housing and long-term operational excellence.
On site staff members will be Tony Ross of Equity Management, Bruce Noggle with PIRHL Contractors and Matt Fine with ZA + D.