Mary D. Stone Apartments Garners Two Affordable Housing Finance Historic Preservation Awards

November 22nd, 2022

Affordable Housing Finance (AHF) recently recognized the Mary Stone Apartments with two prestigious Readers’ Choice Awards, including the publication’s top award.

Along with being recognized as the overall winner in the annual Readers’ Choice Awards, the project in Auburn, Massachusetts was voted as the Best Historic Rehab Development by subscribers of AHF. The publication received nearly 100 nominations from across the country, which were narrowed to 36 finalists in 10 categories, deputy editor Donna Kimura explained. Developments must have been completed in 2021 or 2022 to be eligible.

The building provides 55 units for seniors aged 62 and older. There will be 45 units for seniors at or below 60% of the area median income (AMI), including a portion designated for residents at 30% of the AMI, according to AHF.

Exterior of the Mary D. Stone building after renovations.

“Several state governments have recognized the value of incentivizing affordable housing in historic buildings.”

“[In Massachusetts,] Credits are allocated on a competitive basis based on historic significance, public support and overall challenges of preservation…at least 25 percent of the credits allocated must be for affordable housing.”

“Many historic rehabilitations used for affordable housing are... old schools and hospitals that are often ideal because of their double-loaded corridors, existing partition walls and abundant windows which make designing within the Secretary of Interior’s ‘Standards for Rehabilitation’ [which is required for obtaining HTC] attainable.”


*Note: Novogradac is not affiliated with Epsilon Associates, Inc. Opinions expressed, or endorsements made within the article, do not inherently reflect the views or interests of said publication.

Located adjacent to Town Hall, the building is a prominent feature in the heart of Auburn. Developers retained and repaired the exterior façade of the 1920s building, along with carefully retaining key features of the interior, including the former classrooms, hallways, and stairways. The residential units are located in the former classrooms, with the wide hallways of the former school offering more space and accessibility for senior residents. Chalkboards students once looked to daily have been retained within the residential units, with some on display in the building’s new entrance lobby.

To the rear of the 1920s building a 1954 addition was removed and replaced with a new addition meant to seamlessly blend old and new features of the building.

Developers maintained the wide hallways of the former school building,

Mary D. Stone, the building’s namesake, was born in 1853. She taught in the town for many years and was a member of the Auburn School Committee. She died in 1928, and, two years later, the Mary D. Stone Fund of $2,000 was accepted into a trust toward the school as a gift from family members William F. Stone, Arthur W. Stone, Everett W. Stone, and Frederick N. Stone. The school originally only taught from kindergarten to grade two, but was brought up to eighth grade and expanded in the 1950s before closing in 2015.

Renovation efforts in preserving the building’s local legacy would not have been possible without the benefit of Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits (MHRTC) awarded by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC).

Epsilon’s Doug Kelleher, Principal, and Brielly McGlauflin, Preservation Planner, worked closely with the project team since 2017 to complete the state historic tax credit application process of rehabilitating the former school to affordable senior housing.

The MHRTC program offers significant financial incentives for developers for the rehabilitation, reuse, and revitalization of historic properties, as income-producing properties can receive up to 20% of expenditures back as state tax credits when they take advantage of the program. According to Preservation Massachusetts, these state historic tax credits are a critical tool for funding preservation projects and stimulating economic development throughout the state. Further, historic tax credit programs can be an essential source of funding for affordable housing projects.

Historic tax credit programs can be an essential source of funding for affordable housing projects.

— Allison Casazza, Project Preservation Planner for Epsilon's Historic group

In addition to guiding developers through the tax credit process, Epsilon worked closely with the project team to ensure rehabilitations complied with the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation, a set of guidelines designed to ensure the historic character and significance of a building is maintained as closely as possible. Some of this rehabilitation work included masonry repair, replacement of windows to match those detailed on the original building plans, installation of a new slate roof, and retaining and repairing interior historic features.

Epsilon is grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside the property owner Pennrose and architectural firm DiMella Shaffer assisting in this important rehabilitation project for the Town of Auburn.

Epsilon is currently in the process of working with Pennrose on a sister project in Auburn – the Julia Bancroft school, which will also be rehabilitated for affordable senior housing.

We invite you to follow us on LinkedIn for updates on this and similar projects.

Key Players:

Brielly McGlauflin is a Project Preservation Planner at Epsilon. Ms. McGlauflin has assisted in varied other historic tax credit rehabilitation projects throughout Massachusetts and New England and has more than eight years of professional experience in cultural resource management and historic preservation planning. She has worked with environmental laws, regulations, and guidelines affecting historic resources at the local, state, and federal levels.


Douglas Kelleher, Principal and Manager, Historic Preservation Group is a leader in the field of historic preservation planning with over 25 years of experience in the public and private sectors. He served as Principal for this project. Mr. Kelleher’s prior experience includes numerous years as a Preservation Planner with the Massachusetts Historical Commission. He specializes in providing public and private sector clients with strategic consulting for complex real estate projects involving historic resources for compliance with local, state, and federal historic preservation regulations. Widely recognized as a leader in the preservation community, his well-established expertise is a cornerstone of Epsilon’s historic resources and historic tax credit practice.


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