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Affordable apartments get revamp

Manchi Chu, 85, relaxed with a magazine in her renovated unit at the Franklin Square House in the South End. Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Low-income residents joined government officials and investors Thursday to celebrate the renovation of six apartment buildings, a project that totaled nearly $234 million and is being touted as the state’s largest affordable housing improvement effort.

The project’s official completion was marked during a ceremony at the Franklin Square House in the South End. The 193-unit building is home to about 200 low-income seniors, most of them immigrants. The property dates to 1868 and was once known as “Boston’s Grand Hotel,” hosting such dignitaries as presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant, according to Preservation of Affordable Housing, a Boston nonprofit that purchased and renovated the buildings.


Besides the South End, the 841 affordable rental units include properties in Brewster, Orleans, Hudson, and two other Boston locations: Kenmore Square and near Massachusetts General Hospital.

They were all renovated with the help of a $168 million loan from MassHousing, the state’s affordable housing bank, almost $66 million in private investments that came from $8.9 million in tax credits provided by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development tax credits.

“Preservation projects like these are key to ensuring that residents aren’t displaced and that communities remain diverse,” said Aaron Gornstein, undersecretary for the state housing department, in a statement.

Jenifer B. McKim

Jenifer B. McKim can be reached at jmckim@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @jbmckim.