• Loft Five50 - Lawrence, MA

Restored mill complex provides elegant and flexible affordable housing

The Architectural Team, Inc. transformed the Malden Mills complex in Lawrence, MA into Loft Five50, a beautifully designed affordable, multifamily housing community.

BOSTON, January 22, 2016 – The fire that broke out at Malden Mills in the winter of 1995 was the largest fire Massachusetts had seen for a century. Malden Mills, built in 1866 and the original manufacturer of the fabric Polartec, was one of the few large employers in a town that was already in desperate straits. Seventeen years after the fire destroyed the textile complex in Lawrence, a pair of the historic buildings, encompassing 160,000 square feet of space were redesigned and adapted into a 75-unit modern loft-style one and two-bedroom LEED certifiable apartment community. This was the first phase of transformation for the campus.

The Architectural Team’s design worked to achieve a balance between old and new in a space never intended for housing featuring high ceilings, large clerestory windows for dramatic light, and ample closet space. The calling card for the entire complex, now named Loft Five50 is the beautifully preserved and restored clock tower, which hovers two stories above the structure.

Fast forward to 2015, and the recent completion of Loft Five50 phase two, a mixed-income 62-unit community developed from four of the nine buildings on the 29-acre historic Malden Mills manufacturing site, intended as affordable housing for working families. Fifty-five units are available to residents earning at or below 60 percent of area median income (AMI), while seven units are for residents with incomes at or below 30 percent of AMI. More than 630 qualified applicants participated in a lottery for the 62 units, which are now fully occupied.

Unique to many affordable housing developments, the complex consists of loft-style studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, all with parking and high quality market-rate amenities, including a 15,000 square foot community room with kitchen and entertainment space, fitness facilities, a movie theater, and an indoor children’s play area. Many of the historic features of the buildings were preserved and restored, including high ceilings, large windows, and exposed brick. Other distinctive aspects of the mill were preserved to communicate the history of the complex such as an original automatic heat-closing firewall which is showcased in the lobby as well as original photography depicting the mill prior to its reconstruction.

TAT partnered with WinnDevelopment to transform the property, along with the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Housing and Community Development, MassHousing, Massachusetts Historical Commission, HUD, Massachusetts Housing Partnership, the National Park Service and the City of Lawrence.

About The Architectural Team

For 45 years, the architecture, masterplanning and interior design firm, The Architectural Team, Inc. (TAT), has been recognized for its thought leadership, diverse portfolio of acclaimed design solutions and creating lasting transformation in the communities they serve. The 90-person firm has earned more than 100 awards for design excellence across a broad range of building types and programs; including: new construction of large-scale urban mixed use developments, multifamily, commercial, waterfront and hospitality developments, assisted and senior living facilities, and community centers. TAT also holds a national reputation in the areas of historic preservation, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse that has transformed neighborhoods across the United States, artfully restoring and reimagining neglected buildings for new uses while simultaneously preserving history. For more information, please visit www.architecturalteam.com.

We look forward to sharing our projects and ideas with you.

We look forward to sharing our projects and ideas with you.