Mattapan housing renovation a ‘fully inclusive project’

Mattapan housing renovation a ‘fully inclusive project’

(Boston, MA – 8/16/17) Daniel Cruz Jr., HUD Secretary Jay Ash, Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, Barbara Cruz, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and Cruz Construction Company President John Cruz III participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Wayne at Columbia in Mattapan, Wednesday, August 16, 2017. Staff photo by Angela Rowlings.

Chris Villani, Thursday, August 17, 2017

NEW BEGINNINGS: State officials joined executives from the Cruz Companies to christen the renovation of the Wayne at Columbia housing development yesterday. From left are Daniel Cruz Jr., HUD Secretary Jay Ash, state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, Barbara Cruz, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Cruz Companies President John Cruz III.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh helped cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Wayne at Columbia housing development yesterday, preserving 83 units of affordable housing at the Mattapan site.

Walsh praised Cruz Companies, the region’s oldest and largest minority-owned construction and real estate development firm, for its work on the project. Of the 238 workers who contributed to the development, 80 percent were persons of color and 65 percent were Boston residents, Walsh said, adding that 72 percent of the contractors were people of color.

“This project really represents what we are about as a city in being a fully inclusive project,” Walsh said. “And the cherry on top of this project is there are units of housing being preserved and that’s the beauty of all this.”

Cruz Companies President and CEO John B. Cruz III called it a “tremendous day” and stressed the important role immigrant workers played in finishing the $33 million rehabilitation.

“Most of the subcontractors, the masons, the lumber, the drywall, were immigrants,” Cruz said. “Whether they came from the Haitian community, Jamaican, any Caribbean island, or Ireland. That’s what makes Boston great, our immigrant population working together.”

Dozens of people joined the gathering at the Blue Hill Avenue site, including police officials, state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and City Councilor and mayoral candidate Tito Jackson. State Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash called projects like Wayne at Columbia “imperative to continued economic development in the commonwealth.”

The following appeared in the Boston Herald. Click here to access the original source.

Cruz Companies, Mayor Walsh and Secretary Ash Cut Ribbon on Wayne at Columbia Housing Development

Cruz Companies, Mayor Walsh and Secretary Ash Cut Ribbon on Wayne at Columbia Housing Development

(Front row, from left: Cruz Development Sr. VP Dan Cruz, Jr.; HED Secretary Jay Ash; Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry; Barbara Cruz; Mayor Martin J. Walsh; ​
Cruz Companies President & CEO John B. Cruz, III; RBC Capital Markets Regional Director Tom Maxwell. Photo courtesy of Cruz Companies.)

BOSTON – Wednesday August 16, 2017 – Cruz Companies today cut the ribbon on the newly-renovated Wayne at Columbia housing development, preserving 83 units of affordable housing for the Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury communities.

“The re-development of Wayne will help preserve affordable housing for the next generation of Boston’s inner-city residents,” said Cruz Companies President and CEO John B. Cruz, III. “Cruz is proud to join Mayor Walsh and Secretary Ash to celebrate this milestone, which also provided major employment to area residents and minority contractors.”

Cruz was joined by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house, celebrating the $33 million rehabilitation.

“Preserving and improving communities has major benefits across our city, and I’m proud we were able to renovate these 83 homes,” said Mayor Walsh. “I thank all partners involved in this project as we work to ensure all Boston families have access to housing that is affordable and accessible.”

Cruz Companies recently completed the renovations, installing new roofs, kitchens, baths, energy efficient windows and doors, plumbing, flooring, masonry, paint and security systems. The project employed 258 workers logging 71,000 hours with more than 80 percent workers of color and 65 percent Boston residents.

“Preserving and maintaining affordable housing is a priority for the Baker-Polito administration and it is imperative to continued economic development in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Ash. “This is a great example of the tremendous impact public-private partnerships can have in our communities.”

The renovation was completed with the support of the Mayor’s Department of Neighborhood Development ($900,000) and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development ($2,500,000). MassDevelopment provided $20,055,000 in tax exempt bonds, which were purchased by Eastern Bank (60%) and Cambridge Trust Company (40%) to provide construction and permanent financing for this transaction.

“This project exemplifies our ‘Join Us For Good’ mission,” said Eastern Bank Chairman and CEO Bob Rivers. “Eastern Bank is honored to support a local, minority-owned business like Cruz Companies in preserving housing for residents of Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury.”

About Cruz Companies: Cruz Companies is the oldest and largest minority-owned construction and real estate development firm in the region, responsible for landmark projects and developments. Cruz Companies’ mission is giving back to the community through providing employment and career opportunities to area residents, hiring local minority contractors and businesses, and increasing affordable and market-rate housing.

For more information, visit www.CruzCompanies.com.

Cruz Companies Cuts Ribbon on Renovated  Verdean Gardens in New Bedford

Cruz Companies Cuts Ribbon on Renovated Verdean Gardens in New Bedford

From left: Cruz Companies President & CEO John B Cruz, III, World War II Veteran Manuel “Figi” Figueiredo, Cruz Development Sr. VP Dan Cruz and Cruz Management Director Justin Cruz.

NEW BEDFORD – Tuesday July 11, 2017 – Cruz Companies today was joined by Congressman William Keating, local officials and residents for the ribbon-cutting of the newly-renovated Verdean Gardens housing development in New Bedford, a long staple of the Cape Verdean community.

“We are pleased to bring Verdean Gardens back to life through this significant renovation,” said Cruz Companies President & CEO John B. Cruz, III. “This site has a long history with the Cape Verdean community and we are proud of the jobs, economic development and housing we have been able to support.”

Verdean Gardens was first built in 1987, quickly becoming a home for residents of Cape Verdean descent. In 2016, Cruz Companies launched the $7 million renovation of the 110-unit complex in partnership with Rockland Trust, MassDevelopment, the Department of Housing and Community Development and the City of New Bedford. The new renovations will allow the housing to last for another 25 years.

“With this Cruz development, the majority of the businesses and workers came from right here in New Bedford,” said Congressman Keating. “It’s a terrific place for people to live and have a community together in Verdean Gardens.”

At the event, Congressman Keating and Mr. Cruz presented tokens of appreciation to resident Manuel “Figi” Figueiredo, 96, a World War II Army veteran, who served from 1942-1945, including a tour of duty in Europe with the 38th Battalion out of Camp Edwards. Mr. Figueiredo is a long-time, beloved resident of Verdean Gardens and the renovations will allow him to stay in the home he loves close to his family in New Bedford.

The renovations include new paint, flooring, windows, roofs, kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems and other site upgrades. Cruz Companies ensured at least 50 percent of spending on the project occurred with local businesses and 60 percent of workers hired were people of color.

State Reps. Antonio Cabral and Christopher Markey; New Bedford City Councilor Dana Rebeiro; and New Bedford Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development Patrick Sullivan were also in attendance.

The project was made possible with $7.2 million in MassDevelopment Bonds and $350,000 in federal HOME funds administered by the City of New Bedford.

About Cruz Companies: Cruz Companies is the oldest and largest minority-owned construction and real estate development firm in the region, responsible for landmark projects and developments. Cruz Companies’ mission is giving back to the community through increasing affordable housing opportunities, providing good jobs to area residents, and hiring other minority businesses.

For more information, visit www.CruzCompanies.com.

New Bedford Standard Times: ‘Time has changed’: Verdean Gardens celebrates $7M renovation

New Bedford Standard Times: ‘Time has changed’: Verdean Gardens celebrates $7M renovation

NEW BEDFORD — Up the front steps of Verdean Gardens, beyond yet another set of stairs and through the first door on the right lives 97-year-old Manuel “Figi” Figueiredo.

As a boy, some 92 years ago, Figueiredo followed the same path not to home but to school.

“This here was my fourth grade,” he said, while standing in his newly renovated two-bedroom apartment.

Verdean Gardens, built in 1905, started as the Thomas Donaghy School, where Figueiredo attended through sixth grade.

“It’s changed,” Figueiredo said. “Time has changed.”

On Tuesday, the Cruz Companies celebrated the $7 million renovation of the 110-unit housing development with a ribbon cutting. During the ceremony, Cruz honored Figueiredo, a World War II veteran, and community activist and Vietnam veteran Buddy Andrade with a commemorative desk clock highlighting their services to the community.

“For a change, I’m short of words,” Andrade said, sparking laughter from the dozens in attendance.

President and CEO of Cruz Companies John B. Cruz III, with his son, Justin, sitting behind him, spoke of how his father first orchestrated the construction of Verdean Gardens in 1987. The building fell out of the family’s hands to foreclosure, but they were able to retain the property in 2011.

“Even though he may not be around, if I don’t do the right thing or a good job,” Cruz said. “I’m afraid he’ll come back and haunt me. I always try to please my father.”

The renovation included updating the kitchens, heating, windows, bathrooms and roof.

The funding for the project returned to New Bedford with Cruz Companies using city businesses during the renovation. The company also said 60 percent of the workers hired were people of color.

“This is more than a building this is an example. It wasn’t lost on me when (Cruz) said that (Cruz Companies) a black-owned company. My path has been made much easier because of the work you’ve put in,” Ward 4 Councilor Dana Rebeiro said. “We need to pass that torch. The American dream has been elusive to our community but it’s your work, your example, your pride and your struggle that makes it easier for us to be included.”

The sentiment hit home for the representatives in attendance, which included William Keating as well as state representatives Tony Cabral and Chris Markey.

“The government can’t do everything but what we’re seeing now at the federal level is an inability to understand that putting in a little federal funds brings more revenue in for the country and has a great effect at the same time,” Keating said. “This is a message as I go back to D.C., I’m going to take forward. There’s faces, there’s individuals, there’s lives that are growing.”

Keating also presented Figueiredo with a certificate of appreciation.

After the ceremony the certificate sat on a shelf within Figueiredo’s current home and former classroom.

He reminisced about his days walking a block or so to the school, passing horse and wagons and food peddlers selling a dozen bananas for 10 cents.

He smiled at the thought of recess when he and his friends sprinted around the school.

“Those were the days,” he said.

They’ll be many more inside those walls because of the recent renovation.

Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT.

Cruz President John B. Cruz, III Receives ‘Keeper of the Flame Award’ from Lawyers’ Committee

Cruz President John B. Cruz, III Receives ‘Keeper of the Flame Award’ from Lawyers’ Committee

From left: Lawyers’ Committee for Economic Justice Board Member David Bowman presents ‘Keeper of the Flame Award’ to John B. Cruz, III. Photo courtesy of Cruz Companies

BOSTON – Thursday, June 22, 2017 – Cruz Companies President John B Cruz, III received the ‘Keeper of the Flame Award’ from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice during its 49th anniversary celebration at the Boston College Club.

“Like the Lawyers’ Committee, Cruz has worked to expand opportunities for minority communities for generations,” said John B. Cruz, III. “I thank the Lawyers’ Committee for this honor and join them in carrying forth the flame of the late civil rights icon Rosa Parks.”

More than 200 attended the event, including local elected officials and leaders from the minority legal community. More than 25 Cruz Companies staff and family members were in attendance.

Cruz Companies employs approximately 80 people, of which 90 percent are people of color. Cruz Companies’ MBE contractor participation rate is 82 percent, serving as an industry leader in diversity and inclusion.

The Lawyers’ Committee was formed 49 years ago to marshal the resources of the legal community to address racial and national origin discrimination. The ‘Keeper of the Flame Award’ commemorates the legacy of civil rights activist Rosa Parks by recognizing today’s social justice leaders. Previous honorees include former judges, professors, CEOs and non-profit leaders.

The event, held on June 15, also honored James D. Gallagher, executive vice president and general counsel of John Hancock / Manulife Financial.

About John B. Cruz, III:
John B. Cruz III began his involvement and interest in the construction industry as a youth working summers and weekends in the construction business for his father John “Bertie” Cruz, the owner of a carpentry-subcontracting firm he founded in 1947. After graduating from Wentworth Institute, John started his career in the company as superintendent and estimator. As the company grew and became primarily a general contracting firm, John became president and general manager. Under his leadership the company grew, diversified and expanded into real estate development and property management.

About Cruz Companies:
Cruz Companies is now the oldest and largest minority-owned construction and real estate development firm in the region, responsible for landmark projects and developments. Cruz Companies’ mission is giving back to the community through increasing affordable housing opportunities, providing good jobs to area residents, and hiring other minority businesses.

For more information, visit www.CruzCompanies.com.

Cruz Management Announces Major Transformations at Warren Gardens Co-Op in Roxbury

Cruz Management Announces Major Transformations at Warren Gardens Co-Op in Roxbury

Before Cruz Management repairs to Warren Garden’s roofs

ROXBURY, MA – Thursday, May 18, 2017 – Cruz Management today announced major transformations at the Warren Gardens Co-Op in Roxbury, including a completed $950,000 roof replacement and $600,000 in masonry repairs to enhance the property for residents. Cruz has also begun to repair the exterior siding, after which, the entire development will be repainted.

“Cruz has worked for the past three years with the Warren Gardens Co-Op community to advance this transformation,” said Cruz Management Director Justin Cruz. “We are pleased to oversee these critical projects to enhance the quality of life and safety for residents and shareholders.”

Cruz has managed the 228-unit Warren Gardens Coop for the past three years, working alongside the Warren Gardens Board of Directors and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enhance the formerly troubled and controversial property.

The Cruz Management team has won a reputation for professionalism and partnership with residents, housing agencies and community groups for its work in the inner-city communities

In recognition of his efforts managing projects like Warren Gardens, Justin Cruz was named “The Management Marvel” by Boston Magazine, in its annual Power Issue, profiling the next generation of leaders in Boston’s business community.

Cruz Management recently launched a partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) to implement a smoke-free policy that will increase health and safety for all residents.

A full-service real estate property management firm, Cruz Management provides quality services to property owners in the Greater Boston area that include the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MHFA), HUD, non-profits and private owners. Cruz Management services more than 1,600 units in Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts, with plans to expand into additional markets. Learn more at www.CruzCompanies.com.

After Cruz Management repairs to Warren Garden’s roofs

 

John Cruz Receives MA Alliance of Portuguese Speakers Alvaro Lima Award

John Cruz Receives MA Alliance of Portuguese Speakers Alvaro Lima Award

From left: Boston Planning & Development Agency Director of Research Alvaro Lima, Cruz Companies President & CEO John B. Cruz, III, MAPS Executive Director Paulo Pinto and MAPS Board of Directors President Paula Coutinho

CAMBRIDGE – Wednesday, May 3, 2017 – Cruz Companies President and CEO John B. Cruz, III received the Alvaro Lima Outstanding Business Award from the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) during its recent, annual awards gala in Cambridge.

“We thank Mr. Cruz for never forgetting his family’s immigrant beginnings, and continuing to offer employment opportunities to the community,” said MAPS Executive Director Paulo Pinto. “With its deep Cabo Verdean roots, we are proud that Cruz Companies is one of the country’s top minority-owned construction real estate development businesses.”

Cruz Companies is the oldest and largest minority-owned construction and real estate development firm in the region, responsible for landmark projects and developments.

“Like MAPS, Cruz Companies works to embrace and maintain our immigrant heritage and diversity of the Portuguese-speaking community,” said Cruz. “My thanks go out to Paulo Pinto, and the entire MAPS leadership and Board for this recognition.”

The company was founded by John’s late-father, “Bertie” Cruz in 1948 as a small, Cape Verdean business. Throughout its history, Cruz has embraced diversity by providing well-paying jobs in the construction industry, building affordable housing in inner city minority communities, and by contracting with other minority businesses such as subcontractors, architects, engineers, attorneys, consultants, suppliers, etc.

For more information, visit www.CruzCompanies.com

John Cruz Receives Black Family Legacy Award from Boston City Council

John Cruz Receives Black Family Legacy Award from Boston City Council

(From left: Councilor Pressley; Cruz Companies President John B. Cruz, III; Cruz Management Director Justin Cruz; Councilor Campbell; Cruz Development Sr. VP Dan Cruz)

Cruz Companies President John B. Cruz, III received the Black Family Legacy Award from At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley during the City Council’s recent Black History Month celebration.

“Although many are unaware, there are black families who’ve lived in Boston and have been making civic contributions for generations,” said Councilor Pressley. “I am excited to honor John Cruz of Cruz Companies, as they represent our past, present and future.”

Cruz was among the prominent local black families honored at the event, which was held late February at the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury and sponsored by Councilors Pressley, Tito Jackson and Andrea Campbell.

Mattapan meeting focuses on building ‘trades pipeline’

Mattapan meeting focuses on building ‘trades pipeline’

(John Cruz speaks to minority contractors during a meeting in Mattapan on Tuesday.)

 

 

 

Cruz Companies President John B. Cruz, III recently joined a group of more than 75 minority contractors and ABC members in Mattapan to discuss ways to increase opportunities for people of color in the construction field.

“The construction field is lacking a solid pipeline of minority talent, but Cruz Companies is working with industry leaders to come together with solutions,” said Cruz. “Together, we are committed to creating opportunities for people in our inner-city communities through contracting opportunities, training and apprenticeship programs.”

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh recently announced plans to raise the city’s hiring goals to 40 percent people of color. However, a lack of experienced and trained workers remains a barrier.

Cruz Construction, in partnership with the Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts (ABC) MAPS program and YouthBuild Boston, runs a carpentry apprentice and labor apprentice program with six students currently enrolled; comprising four men and two women.

The program gives young people the opportunity to work alongside their peers while developing skills in the high demand construction field.The four-year apprenticeship program provides apprentices with 4,000 total hours of training in the field and 4,000 in the classroom.

The Mattapan event was held at the Church of the Holy Spirit and hosted by ABC Chair Joe Barbone who thanked the Cruz organization for its work to increase access and opportunity for diverse workers in the industry. This January, Mr. Cruz was inducted into the ABC Board of Directors.

John Cruz Proudly Joins ABC Board of Directors

John Cruz Proudly Joins ABC Board of Directors

Cruz Companies President John B. Cruz, III was inducted to the Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts (ABC) Board of Directors on January 25, 2017 during the organization’s installation of officers event in Davensport.

“I thank ABC for this honor and look forward to working with the association to support Merit Shop principles that allow access and opportunity for all,” said Cruz.

At the event, ABC Chair Joe Barbone welcomed the incoming members to the ABC Board and thanked the entire Cruz Companies organization for its work to support the association and its principles.

ABC is a national trade association representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms.