CBS MarketWatch, Jan 3 2019
Preservation of a registered historic landmark in Lowell, Massachusetts has begun following completion of the pre-development funding for the Lowell Legacy Hotel by Hampton Financial Partners, an affiliate of the Cherrytree Group of Newton, Massachusetts.
Due to the historic nature of the five-story building, built between 1896 and 1905, the property has been deemed eligible to receive historic tax credits by the Federal government. The syndication of the credits is being managed by Cherrytree Group utilizing an Opportunity Zone Investment Fund which was specifically created to spur development in Federally designated Opportunity Zones within the region.
For roughly 42 years the Athenian Corner Restaurant has stood as a landmark dining spot in the city. The Panagiotopoulos family, which owns the restaurant, teamed up with Madison Security Group and with the assistance of the funding from Cherrytree Group started the rehabilitation of the restaurant — adding a boutique hotel, which is to be the only one of its kind in downtown Lowell.
“We are proud to be a part of this project which we see as integral to the revitalization of Lowell”, said Warren Kirshenbaum, president of Cherrytree Group, “and we are further encouraged that our involvement in the pre-development phase has allowed the project to proceed and overcome significant development related hurdles.”
Hampton Financial Partners funded $825,000 in pre-development capital to the project. The pre-development funding this fall allowed construction to begin in earnest. Further investment will supplement the cost reduction from the tax credits to complete the renovation, which is expected in 2019.
“Cherrytree has been a solid supporter of us and our project, and we could not have reached this point without them,” said Tim Grover of Madison Security Group.
The Federal Opportunity Zone program was established by Congress last year to encourage development in economically challenged areas of the nation that benefits the public. Lowell was one of the cities which received designation earlier this year as an Opportunity Zone, and the Athenian project is one of the first to begin in the city.
The new hotel will have 52 guest rooms as well as banquet facilities. The existing restaurant on the premises will also be renovated, said Grover.
The project’s architect is Jozokos Architecture Inc., and the project’s developer is Athenian Corner Inc.
Warren founded Cherrytree in 2011 and has spent the past eleven years building a highly specialized tax credit consultation, brokerage, and syndication firm. He has relied on three decades of experience and a law background to focus on the structural and development finance aspects of tax incentivized real estate-based transactions — particularly in the environmental remediation (Brownfields), renewable energy, and historic rehabilitation areas.