BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Eastern Bank is pleased to announce a $14 million loan to the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston for its historic purchase of Western Avenue Studios & Lofts (WASL) in Lowell, MA. The WASL complex includes 240,000 square feet of space, 250 work-only artist studios, 50 work/live studios and a brewery, cafe and gallery, representing an economic development and cultural asset to Lowell and beyond. of the.
“Affordable housing is critical to maintaining the prosperity and growth of our local economy,” said Pamela Feingold, Senior Vice President and Group Director of Community Development Lending Group at Eastern Bank. “Through a collaborative funding model with our community partners, the Western Avenue Studios & Lofts building will be preserved and rent for practicing artists will remain affordable.
The Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston (A&BC) seeks to give artists and organizations the resources they need to practice their craft and grow their businesses. The purchase of Western Avenue is part of A&BC’s Creative Campus Initiative, a response to gentrification in Greater Boston and the resulting loss of affordable creative spaces for creative communities. This purchase ensures that the artist spaces at Western Avenue Studios & Lofts will remain affordable, community-based and dedicated to creative enterprises.
“As our local communities gentrify, accessing capital to preserve their arts spaces becomes difficult,” said Jim Grace, executive director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston. “As a community bank specializing in community development lending, Eastern had the experience to understand the unique economics involved and create the collaborative financing model necessary to make this project successful. As a result, we expect artists at Lowell to have affordable and safe spaces to live and work for generations to come, maintaining a vibrant and active role for the arts in this community.
Eastern offers a range of community development financing offerings to fund affordable housing development and meet the credit needs of non-profit organizations. Community development lending solutions include construction and real estate financing, working capital lines of credit, tiered leveraged loans for new market tax credit projects and low-income housing, tax-exempt bond financing, and highly sophisticated treasury services and deposit products.
The community development lending team advising A&BC was led by Vice President and Relationship Manager Johanna Stone. Eastern partnered with BlueHub Capital, a Boston-based community development finance institution, which provided A&BC with an additional $3 million in financing for this transaction.
About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818, Boston-based Eastern Bank has more than 120 locations serving communities in Eastern Massachusetts, Southern and Coastal New Hampshire and Rhode Island. As of March 31, 2022, Eastern Bank had approximately $23 billion in total assets. Eastern provides banking, investment and insurance products and services to individuals and businesses of all sizes, including through its Eastern Wealth Management division and its subsidiary Eastern Insurance Group LLC. Eastern prides itself on its outspokenness and community support which includes $240 million in charitable donations since 1994. An inclusive company, Eastern employs approximately 2,100 deeply committed professionals who value relationships with their customers, colleagues and communities. Join us for good at www.easternbank.com and follow Eastern on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Eastern Bankshares, Inc. (Nasdaq Global Select Market: EBC) is the holding company of Eastern Bank. For more investor information, visit investor.easternbank.com.