WHALE was founded in 1962 when city centers were in decline, buildings were decaying and Urban Renewal was demolishing historic downtown areas. WHALE worked to save threatened historic structures utilizing its first Revolving Loan Fund. We acquire buildings to renovate and repurpose them for the community, such as centers and affordable housing. The latest project is 149 Allen St. that will be renovated and sold to a first-time homebuyer through lottery.
Properties that are considered under the Program are historically significant and are in need of substantial rehabilitation. The structural integrity of the building is evaluated to see if it is financially feasible to historically restore it, and sell it to a homeowner who will invest further in the neighborhood. The fund targets key foreclosed properties which impact livability of neighborhoods. WHALE works with the city and the Attorney General’s office and the City of New Bedford to identify sites with the most urgent need and develop a scope of work.
The long-term goal of the project is to revitalize blighted neighborhoods and create stronger communities surrounding downtown. By re-selling projects to low and moderate homeowners, WHALE is preventing further destruction while investing in the historic infrastructure of low-income areas.
149 Allen St: Historic Home with Apartment
In 1845, Charles V. Card completed the construction of his home, first known as 49 Allen St. Card was a block and pumpmaker, an important profession in the seafaring community. He had a shop on the waterfront and made two machines that ships needed to sail: the block-and-tackles that could lift heavy cargo or raise sails, and the pumps that kept water from building up below decks. He also served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Architecturally, this building is a unique style, even for its time. It is primarily a Greek Revival, however it was constructed in 1845 when the Gothic Revival style was becoming popular in New Bedford, and so it utilizes a deep cornice and verge board. The baluster and swags may have been a later addition.
The house will have a 4-bedroom homeowner unit with a one-bedroom unit can be rented out. After its full restoration, the house will be sold through a lottery process to an income qualified family.
Other historic buildings under WHALE’s Revolving Loan Fund include:
- Howland House
- 139 and 141 Union Street
- Oscar Romero House
- 143 Pleasant Street