Transit-oriented & affordable in Dorchester's diverse Fields Corner
For years, residents have come to know Dorchester’s Fields Corner as a diverse place where newcomers can find a home. Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Cape Verdean Creole, and Portuguese can be heard as you walk down the street in this historic commercial district in Dorchester, the largest neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts.
With the newly refurbished Fields Corner subway station only a few steps away, TLee Development (the Sponsor), plans to revitalize a small lot located at 1463 Dorchester Avenue, once home to the modest Gallagher Insurance office, into a new five-story mixed use building with 29 workforce housing apartments and 1325 square feet of commercial space (the Project).
A transit-oriented development (TOD) area, the Project is designed to include bike parking and community space on the 5,331 square foot lot, but with no on-site parking. It has been designed to meet the City of Boston’s Compact Living Pilot requirements.The design provides for a residential entry on Charles Street, while the retail/commercial space entrance faces the major commercial strip of Dorchester Avenue. In addition, 1463 Dot Ave. is designed to provide 29 income restricted rental units (affordable to households making at or below 90% AMI). The design includes 25 studio units and four one-bedroom units. Three of the units are planned to be ADA accessible units, and an outdoor patio space for tenants is planned for the rear of the building. The units are expected to range from approximately 380 - 495 square feet in size.
Lease rates are expected to range from $1625 per month for a studio to $1750 per month for a one-bedroom. All of the residential rental units are planned to be deed restricted to households making at or below 90% of the Area Median Income and designated as Workforce Housing, which according to MASS Housing, “helps those burdened by market rents but earning too much to qualify for public subsidies.” Fair Market Rents in Boston range from $1724 for a studio to $1924 for a one-bedroom, according to HUD FY 2021. Utility costs are expected to be lower than traditional new construction apartments, as the building has been designed with a high performance building envelope with plenty of insulation, air tightness, and quality windows and doors to Passive House standards. The commercial unit is expected to rent for about $4,000 per month.
|Rent Comparison Source
|Lease rate - studio
|Lease rate - 1 bed
|1463 Dot Ave (70% AMI Inclusionary Development Policy)
|3 Dot Ave (80% AMI MassHousing Program)
|1463 Dot Ave (90% AMI WorkForce Housing Program)
|HUD FY 2021 Fair Market Rent for Boston
|August 2021 Averge Rent in Boston - Zumper as referenced from Boston Magazine
The Sponsor has received zoning approval, acquired the land and plans to begin construction in Novemberof 2021.Nearly 50% of all renters in Boston were either severely or moderately rent burdened as of 2018. As of August 2021, Boston has seen rents higher than before the Pandemic, with studio rents averaging at $1825 and one-bedroom rents averaging at $2,300.
Investors may also participate in certain decisions related to the property, by being elected as a member of the Project Oversight Committee. This committee will participate in some decisions related to the property such as rent increases, selection of retail tenants and property manager selection, and will participate in Annual Investor meetings to elect members of the Project Oversight Committee.
The project team includes:
Developer. TLee Development, LLC, led by Travis Lee and founded in 2014. TLD develops cross-cultural real estate buildings for low- and moderate-income Dorchester residents.
Architect. Placetailor provides a holistic approach to design, blending architectural services with net zero and urban design practices.
Community. CoEverything is a consulting firm that helps community-based clients bring their cooperative projects to life.
Contractor. MCR Construction is a general contractor with over two decades of experience building housing in the Boston area with a focus on green building techniques.
Equity Partner. Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund II provides low-cost, patient capital to mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented real estate developments in walkable urban and suburban neighborhoods.
Lending Partner. MassHousing is an independent, quasi-public agency charged with providing financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts.
The timeline for the Project is expected to be:
11/10/21. Groundbreaking and construction starts
12/03/21. Building permit approved
12/06/21. Marketing Launch
01/15/23. Construction completion
04/15/23. Lease up complete and all tenants moved in
Total acquisition and development costs are expected to be approximately $9,650,000. We plan to finance these costs through two MassHousing loans totaling $8,000,000, an equity investment of $1,350,000 to be made by the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund (HNEF), $200,000 through this crowdfunding offering and a $100,000 equity investment by the Sponsor on the same terms as the crowdfunding investors. If the maximum goal of this offering is not reached, the Sponsor plans to make up any shortfall.
The Mass Housing Senior Permanent Loan of $5,500,000 has a 40-year term, with an interest rate of 3.11% basis points over the ten-year treasury rate. This loan will be paid off at year 40 in monthly payments of principal and interest with no balloon payment due
The Mass Housing Workforce Fund is the Subordinate debt and has a term of 15 years. The Workforce Housing Program is providing $100,000 of subsidy per unit of income-restricted and deed restricted affordable housing, for a total of $2,500,000. Monthly payments of 2% interest only will be made for 15 years. The loan balloons at year 15 but may be reset and reassessed every 15 years.
The Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund (HNEF) - is investing $1,350,000 in equity into the project. The Fund plans to exit the project at year seven or later. At their exit, their equity in the project will be subject to a valuation.
We plan to refinance both HNEF and Investor Member equity at the same time in the seventh year of operations, based on this valuation. The project is expected to be refinanced with either bank financing or a replacement equity investor.
Lastly, the Sponsor has already invested $300,000 of equity into the project in order to secure the $7,500,000 Construction Loan from Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation (MHIC) which has a two-year maturity and a rate of 3.75%. Based on the amount of equity raised through this offering, the Small Change Investor Members will replace a portion of that equity, ranging from $50,000 (the minimum target of this offering) and $200,000 (the maximum goal).
The following table is a summary of anticipated sources and uses of funds. Or you can review a more deetailed sources and uses here.
|MassHousing Permanent Loan (Senior Debt)
|MassHousing Workforce Fund (Subordinate Debt)
|Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund (HNEF)
|Sponsor equity (on an equal basis with investor members)
|Small Change Investor Members
|Reserves, developer fee & overhead
The Company expects cash flow from operations to increase from approximately $67,320 in year one to approximately $109,714 in year four and $157,878 in year seven. For more detail review the project operating proforma.
Travis Lee is founder and owner of TLee Development LLC, the developer of 1463 Dorchester Avenue.Travis is passionate about creating cross-cultural community building and economic development opportunities for low- and moderate-income Dorchester residents.
A Dorchester resident himself, Travis has over 15 years of experience developing mixed-income housing and small businesses in his community. Travis founded TLee Development (TLD) in 2014 with a core mission to help communities articulate and bring their visions to life. TLD works closely with community groups and civic associations to conceive, plan, permit and construct various mixed-income and mixed-use properties in Dorchester. To date, TLD has over 80 residential units and 50,000 square feet of neighborhood commercial space in the planning, permitting or operational phases of development. 100% of the residential units developed and owned by TLD are affordable to families making between 60%-90% of the area median income. In addition, TLD projects are designed and built to meet Passive House standards which reduces energy consumption and operating costs—ultimately creating a healthier environment for building occupants.
Prior to forming TLD, Travis served as a project manager in one of Boston’s most historic and impactful community development corporations, Madison Park CDC. While there, he oversaw the development of over 200 units of rental and homeownership housing as well as roughly 40,000 square feet of commercial space in the Roxbury neighborhood.
As an entrepreneur and small business owner in Dorchester, Travis’s commitment to economic development in his neighborhood is personal. As co-founder of the Fields Corner Business Lab (2014), Travis has fostered collaboration among entrepreneurs, small businesses, and community development organizations to advance one of Dorchester’s most promising business districts. Travis also co-founded the Dorchester Brewing Company (2016), an AIA-award-winning partner-brewing facility and public Tap Room that has become neighborhood staple and citywide favorite.
Dariela Villon-Maga is the Project Manager for 1463 Dot Ave and is leading the development efforts for this project. Her role is to guide the project from construction through lease-up. Prior to joining TLD, Dariela has been working in the affordable housing field for over a decade and has experience in construction, finance and property management. She was born and raised in Dorchester and has worked on seven mixed-use and multi-family projects in Boston.
Milton Bramble is the Assistant Project Manager for 1463 Dot Ave development and is an employee of TLD. He has worked for TLD for 2 years. He resides in the community he grew up in, Dorchester, Massachusetts - also the location of the 1463 Dot Ave project site. As a longtime Dorchester resident, Milton acts as community liaison for TLD, working with community organizations like the West of Washington Coalition. He has sought out and brought in new projects to TLD similar to the size and scope of 1463 Dot Ave, focusing primarily on developments in Dorchester, ranging from existing apartment buildings to new City-designated parcels for Workforce Housing.
Placetailor is the architect of record for 1463 Dot Avenue. The practice blends Net-Zero practices, urban design, and architecture with a fierce commitment to social, environmental, and housing justice. Founded in 2008, Placetailor has designed over 25 projects in Boston neighborhoods. Projects focus on net zero energy design and multi-family housing. An example of a recently completed project is Fort House - 5 market rate, high performance condos in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.
CoEverything is acting as Community Engagement Consultant for the Project. CoEverything’s mission is to help clients bring their cooperative projects to life. CoEverything has guided the TLD team to build the plan for the Project Oversight Committee and is responsible for the marketing and outreach strategy for the Crowdfunding campaign. To accomplish this, cofounders Miriam Gee and Declan Keefe are facilitating a group of community advisors, all long-time BIPOC Dorchester residents, to work on Community Outreach for this project. Included in outreach was an education workshop series called “Real Estate for All”, which focused on real estate development financing and community ownership and which was well attended.
MCR Construction is the general contractor and has been building and renovating properties in the Boston area for over two decades. Owner Manuel Reynoso emigrated from Guatemala in 1986. He trained as a union mason and carpenter and was licensed as a general contractor in 1992. Over the years, MCR has worked with many private homeowners, small businesses, community development organizations, governmental agencies, and nonprofits. Recently, MCR completed a 10-unit LEED Platinum rated affordable condominium project for Just-A-Start Corporation with YouthBuild apprentices.
This project is expected to fill a crucial need for transit-accessible workforce housing in Dorchester, Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood. Future tenants would have the opportunity to live adjacent to the MBTA Red Line station and the vibrant and historic Fields Corner commercial corridor which offers many new and longtime restaurants, grocery stores, banks, and other amenities.
Boston’s population is projected to increase by almost 70,000 over the next decade, with middle-income households accounting for 29% of that growth. To meet the demand and ensure that middle-income households are not priced out of both new market-rate and subsidized units, the city has committed to producing 20,000 middle-income units over the next 10 years. 1463 Dot Ave. would contribute to this ambitious goal in the Fields Corner area of Dorchester, a neighborhood offering direct access to restaurants, grocery stores, banks, parks, public transit and other important neighborhood services and amenities.
Fields Corner, adjacent to the Property, is within walking distance of key transit nodes including the MBTA Fields Corner Red Line Station and multiple high frequency bus routes. One of the last places in the city to maintain its “old charm,” Fields Corner celebrates its local stalwarts like the Blarney Stone and Anh Hong, as well as its newcomers, including a new Target and restaurants like Coco Leaf, 50Kitchen, home.stead Bakery and Cafe.
In addition, the unit mix planned for the project (21 studios and eight one-bedrooms) was carefully designed to meet the growing demands of the neighborhood and city at large. According to ACS 2015 - 2019 estimates, Dorchester currently has about 1,100 studio apartments and 7,300 one-bedroom apartments while there are roughly 15,000 households in Dorchester with only one person. And with a median income of about $55,000 per year, this income would support the project's proposed rents which range from $1086 per month to about $1925 per month depending on the applicant's income and desired unit size.
Fields Corner is one of the largest neighborhood commercial hubs in Boston, home to over 200 shops, services, and restaurants. In the mid-18th century, Fields Corner transformed from farmland to bustling commercial thoroughfare, supporting a high density of small independent businesses across a range of sectors. In fact, the neighborhood is named after a general store opened by brothers Enos and Isaac Field at the intersection of Adams Street and Dorchester Avenue.
Today, ethnic and cultural diversity are the foundation of Fields Corner’s economic vitality. Recognized in 2014 as one of “10 Great Neighborhoods in America” by the American Planning Association, Fields Corner is home to African American, Cape Verdean, Irish, Latino businesses and residents, and Vietnamese. It also has a rich architectural heritage that connects Boston’s past to its present. The architectural landscape is marked by a collection of 20th-century cast stone commercial buildings, along with key landmarks: One Fields Corner (also known as the Lenane Building); One Arcadia Place (formerly the Fields Corner Municipal Building listed on the National Register of Historic Places); an original Loews Theatre; and the O’Hearn Storage building (formerly the Dorchester Music Hall).
The Company is engaged in a Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) offering (the “Offering”) to raise money to build, manage and rent 29 workforce housing apartments and a 1,300 square foot commercial space at 1463 Dorchester Avenue, in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
We are trying to raise a maximum of $200,000, but we will move forward with the Project and use investor funds if we are able to raise at least $50,000 (the “Target Amount”). If we have not raised at least the Target Amount by March 31, 2022, EST (the “Target Date”), we will terminate the Offering and return 100% of their money to anyone who has subscribed.
The minimum you can invest in the Offering is $500. Investments above $500 may be made in $250 increments (e.g., $750 or $1,000, but not $1,136). An investor may cancel his or her commitment up until 11:59 pm on March 29, 2022 (i.e., two days before the Target Date). If we have raised at least the Target Amount we might decide to accept the funds and admit investors to the Company before the Target Date; in that case we will notify you and give you the right to cancel.
After we accept the funds and admit investors to the Company, whether on the Target Date or before, we will continue the Offering until we have raised the maximum amount.
- Community centered. Led by and developed for longtime Dorchester residents.
- Democratic. Investors elected to a Project Oversight Committee.
- Income Restricted Housing. For those burdened by market rents.
- Transit-oriented. Newly refurbished MBTA station is just steps away.
- Net-zero. Low energy, high-performance, sustainable design.
- Construction started. Permit secured and groundbreaking is underway.
- Experienced Developer. Proven history in affordable housing development.
If the Company is profitable, it will make distributions to its owners from time to time. Cash to be distributed will flow from the project entity, 1463 Dot Ave, LLC, after all bank loans, expenses and returns to institutional investors are paid.
Under the Company’s LLC Agreement, the source of the distribution is immaterial. Instead, all distributions will be made in the following order of priority:
- First, the Available Cash, if any, shall be distributed to the Investor Members, including Sponsor in its role as Investor Member, until they have received up to a 6% return of their Unreturned Investment.
- Second, the balance of the Available Cash, if any, shall be distributed to the Investor Members, including Sponsor in its role as Investor Member, until they have received any shortfall in their 6% return of their Unreturned Investment for any prior year.
- Third, the balance of the Available Cash, if any, shall be distributed to the Investor Members, including Sponsor in its role as Investor Member, until they have received a full return of their Unreturned Investment.
- Fourth, the balance of the Available Cash, if any, shall be distributed to the Investor Members, including Sponsor in its role as Investor Member, until they have received an additional 20% return on their initial Investment.
Please see the highlighted line in this downloadable operating proforma for the anticipated cash flow that will be distributed to the Company.
You can trace how distributions will flow to HNEF in Section 10.03 “Distributions of Cash Flow” of the 1463 Dot Ave LLC Operating Agreement. Once distributions are made to HNEF per that agreement, all remaining cash will flow to the Company to be distributed to investor members.
A crowdfunding investment involves risk. You should not invest any funds in this offering unless you can afford to lose your entire investment.
In making an investment decision, Investors must rely on their own examination of the Companies and the terms of this offering, including the merits and risks involved. These securities have not been recommended or approved by any federal or state securities commission or regulatory authority. Furthermore, these authorities have not passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this document. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not pass upon the merits of any securities offered or the terms of this offering, nor does it pass upon the accuracy or completeness of any offering document or literature related to this offering. These securities are offered under an exemption from registration; however, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has not made an independent determination that these securities are exempt from registration.
There are numerous risks to consider when making an investment such as this one and financial projections are just that - projections. Returns are not guaranteed. Conditions that may affect your investment include unforeseen construction costs, changes in market conditions, and potential disasters that are not covered by insurance. You can download a more expansive list of potential risks here.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe social, economic, and public health challenges in Boston, from high rates of unemployment and economic insecurity, to increases in construction costs in a development market that was relatively expensive before the pandemic. Although, as of the launch of this offering, the economy has begun to bounce back with the easing of government restrictions, increases in vaccinations, and the creation of new jobs, it is hard to predict when the city’s economy will fully recover as the pandemic continues on. Given this uncertainty, this project could face the following positive and negative impacts:
- Despite a halt to construction projects in March 2020, construction activity in Boston has almost resumed to pre-pandemic levels, so we expect to adhere to our construction timeline. However, if there is another surge in COVID-19 cases, construction may be halted once more, which could affect our timeline.
- Materials prices have continued to increase throughout the pandemic. In addition, another surge in COVID-19 cases could slow down international supply chains of materials. At the same time, the federal stimulus and state and local initiatives have made many resources available to ensure that small businesses, like our subcontractors, remain stable. Therefore, our construction timeline also depends on the pace of the pandemic and the availability of small business resources.
- As the city’s academic institutions welcome students back, vacancies and rental prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels and the search for rental housing has become more competitive. Even so, many households are still facing economic insecurity and a high housing cost burden. This makes the income-restricted housing offered by this project a particularly valuable asset in Boston. We feel confident that we will be able to maintain our lease-up and rental timeline.