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HAVERHILL, MA-A 100-year-old former shoe factory and warehouse will be converted into a 146-unit multifamily complex. The plan will preserve the building’s historic character while creating work and living space for small business owners.

The $39-million mixed-income rental community called the Cordovan at Haverhill Station will transform the once-abandoned factory and warehouse into loft and conventional apartments along with duplexes that double as storefronts for small business owners. About 40% of the development’s apartments, which are being built by Beacon Communities of Boston, will be affordable.

“The historic rehab of Cordovan will meld nicely with the many historic conversions in the neighborhood,” says Hal Cohen, chief executive officer of Beacon. Cohen says the affordable units will be reserved for individuals with incomes that are 60% below the area’s median income. Construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2007.

Pam Goodman, president of Beacon, says the former factory site, which once served as the Haverhill Board of Trade building, offered a prime opportunity to create housing that would revive a historic building. “We think Haverhill is a great community and an example of smart growth,”

Originally built in 1906, the building is located at 16-18 Walnut St. and at 38-42 Walnut St., just one block north of what was once the city’s Washington Street Shoe District. To preserve its historic character, interior wood columns and ceilings along with its brick walls will be preserved in common areas. Exterior doors, windows and other features will be upgraded with historically accurate replacements. A community room, exercise facility and exterior storage area will also be part of the development.

One- and two-bedroom units, which will range in size from 669 sf to 1,826 sf, will be leased for between $1,000 to $1,750 per month. More than $24.1 million in equity financing has been provided by CharterMac for the conversion.

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