Media Contact

Kelly Magee

​$14.5M donation secures affordable housing at Cambridge’s Close Building

by: Wicked Local Cambridge

A former Cambridge chocolate factory turned affordable housing in 1977 has been donated to the current manager of the building, the not-for-profit Just-A-Start Corporation, securing its affordability for years to come.

LP Solutions LLC, an affiliate of LIHC Investment Group — one of the nation’s largest owners of affordable housing, announced last week it has donated its ownership stake (91 percent, valued at $14.5 million) in the Close Building to Just-A-Start (JAS), a Cambridge Community Development Corporation dedicated to building housing security and economic stability for low- to moderate-income people.

This is the largest donation ever received by JAS, which formed in 1968 and currently owns 600 units of housing. JAS will now own the building mortgage-free.

The Close Building is the former home of the George Close Company, a chocolate factory, whose principal, George Close, erected the brick building at 243 Broadway in 1910. Known in its day for its chocolates, suckers, lemon drops, sponge cakes and butter balls, the factory employed 125 people and produced around three tons of confections per day for distribution throughout New England.

The Close Building is a 61-unit, 100 percent affordable building, which participates in the federal Project-Based Section 8 program. Under the ownership of Just-A-Start, the building will remain affordable and tenants will continue to pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. The donation is one of the largest donations of affordable housing in Greater Boston.

“Just-A-Start has been an invaluable partner in the Close Building, and under their stewardship the property will be preserved and maintained as affordable housing for tenants and the community for generations to come,” said Andrew Gendron, Principal, LIHC Investment Group. “Quality, affordable housing is the foundation of healthy neighborhoods and this donation will allow Just-A-Start to continue and expand its mission in a very tight housing market.”

“This generous donation assures the preservation of this property as affordable housing,” said Deborah Ruhe, Executive Director of Just-A-Start Corporation. “We will leverage this donation to support renovations and upgrading of the building to begin next year, in addition to sustaining quality community development programming for local residents.”

The property is the second in the Boston area that LIHC Investment Group has donated to a community-based, not-for-profit operator. In 2015, the company donated its ownership stake in Dimock Bragdon Apartments, a 54-unit affordable building in Roxbury, to Urban Edge, a community development corporation working in Jamaica Plains and Roxbury.

LIHC Investment Group had been a partner the Close Building since 2006. The building includes two management offices, a large community room, and laundry room. Two parking lots on separate sites serve the building with 23 spaces. The Close Building offers studios, one- and two-bedroom units.

View All News