Aaron Nicodemus: Public-fund loan pool could incentivize historic renovations into housing

Full and original article posted on Telegram.com

A major developer of mixed-income housing told a forum at the DCU Center last week that it cannot rehabilitate old buildings in Gateway Cities like Worcester without public funds.

Gilbert J. Winn, chief executive officer of Boston-based WinnCompanies, discussed his company’s Worcester projects at the forum hosted by The Research Bureau Wednesday. The company has successfully converted the former Chevalier Furniture building on Water Street into the Canal Lofts and the former Worcester Voke-Tech High School in Lincoln Square into the Voke Lofts. Both projects received millions of dollars in public funds as part of their construction.

Mr. Winn said the projects were success stories for WinnCo., in that the market-rate apartments have significantly increased in value, even in the short amount of time since they were built. Market rate apartments at the Canal Lofts go for $1,500 a month, he said, while the Voke Lofts has market-rate apartments that fetch $2,000 to $2,500 per month.

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