St. Regis House
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.