Novogradac 2020 Historic Rehabilitation Award – St. Regis House

September 9, 2020

St. Regis House is located in Berlin, NH which is New Hampshire’s northernmost city sitting at the edge of the White Mountains.  The availability of safe, high-quality and affordable housing for the senior and disabled population is limited.  Chesapeake Community Advisors (“CCA”) and the Berlin Housing Authority (“BHA”) were able to make a substantial impact on the community and preserve this much need housing through the acquisition and rehabilitation of St. Regis.  

St. Regis is a unique building with great historic significance for the surrounding community. The former school, St. Regis Academy, is a large three-story, flat-roofed, Romanesque-style, brick building. In 1981 the building was converted to affordable housing with few alterations to the historic footprint including the addition of a stair tower.  The project had not received any type of renovation in 40 years leaving the building in great disrepair. Taking a structure that was built in 1910 and modernizing it along with converting it to include an energy efficient, Enterprise Green-compliant building was a large undertaking all while meeting the SHPO’s and NPS’s requirements.     

The financing structure was complicated.  The primary sources of financing included a 9% LIHTC allocation, historic tax credits, construction financing provided by New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (“NHHFA”) and a permanent loan from by Mercy Loan Fund (“MLF”).  This project received MLF’s first long-term loan.  All of the existing, restructured HUD debt was assumed by the new ownership while BHA, the qualified non-profit sponsor, became the noteholder of that debt.  The project received a CDBG award, assumed an existing HOME loan and received a new 20-year HAP contract.

Although there were many challenges during the project from working through the HUD financing to addressing significant structural issues that were well-beyond the original scope of work to having a completion and lease-up impacted by a pandemic-induced shutdown, St. Regis has been beautifully restored and has made a tremendous impact on the community and provided the residents with safe, sanitary and modernized housing.  The project is well-positioned for successful operations for at least the next 20 years and has served as an excellent addition to the BHA’s portfolio.