Castle Square Tenants Organization's mission is to promote the economic, educational and social empowerment of low and moderate income individuals by providing access to safe, quality affordable housing and supportive direct service programs.
During the summer of 1987, the Castle Square Tenants Organization became aware that the owner, an affiliate of the Druker Company, had executed a Purchase and Sale Agreement to sell the property Castle Square Apartments to a limited partnership organized and controlled by the Winn Development Company (Winn). CSTO was concerned that the federally subsidized mortgage might be prepaid and that the developer might try to market the units as condominiums, in what was then a strong market. Because of the large amount of public resources tenant support was necessary as a practical matter for the sale to be feasible.
CSTO met with Winn and Druker in the fall of 1987. Winn agreed from the outset that long term affordability would be preserved. Winn also agreed to sell to a tenant controlled entity in 10-15 years and to give CSTO a role in management. To assist in its negotiation with Winn, CSTO assembled a technical team bringing to the table legal, real estate, architectural, and financial experts. A number of issues were identified as needing resolution before CSTO would agree to support the sale proposal: long term affordability; funding for an eventual tenant buy-back of Castle Square; specification of the tenant management role; acceptable rehabilitation plan and operation budget; a source of technical assistance funds; the disposition of the parking garage; the continuation of the A&P food store; and a financial contribution by the seller (Druker) towards CSTO’s preservation efforts. The negotiation over these issues continued for five years. In May, 1990, a Project Agreement was executed among CSTO, Winn and Druker with 51% Winn majority owner 49% and CSTO minority.
In 2011, the ownership role was renegotiated with CSTO as the majority owner and Winn minority owner of Castle Square Apartments. Both companies worked tirelessly to raise necessary funds to refinance and renovate the property.
In December 2012, owned by Castle Square Tenants Organization in partnership with Winn Companies, CSTO completed the nation’s largest Deep Energy Retrofit on an existing affordable housing community. A Deep Energy Retrofit is defined as a renovation with energy savings greater than 50 percent, The Castle Square Apartments managed to achieve a 72 percent reduction in energy usage. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded CSTO with the LEED Platinum Certification, which is its highest green building rating. In 2014, Castle Square was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with an award for Superior Energy Performance. Buildings that earn EPA's Energy Star use 35 percent less energy and generate 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar buildings across the nation.
CSTO also created a LEED Platinum Community Center, complete with a technology and media room, classroom space for our elementary education programs, a gym, a versatile teen space, and kitchen facility. Since the beginning CSTO’s board, comprised of 100% residents, has demonstrated an overwhelming commitment to obtaining a better life for themselves and their community.
CSTO is honored to have been the recipient of the following awards over the years:
Best of the Best Landscape Award, Winn Companies
Community Service Award, Boston Police Neighborhood Watch Unit
Energy Star, Environmental Protection Agency
Social Justice Award, Chinese Progressive Association
LEED Platinum, US Green Building Council
Arthur F. Howe Community Service Award, The Ellis South End Neighborhood Association
Vanguard Award, National Affordable Housing Management Association
Mayor's Green Residential Award, City of Boston
2nd Place Winner 2008 Landscape Contest, Institute of Real Estate Management
Community of Quality, National Affordable Housing Management Association