"Multifamily living's tough enough," said Vaughn. "At least you can be secure and safe and walk the property and enjoy it. That's one of our things — you don't want to be a prisoner in your own apartment."
Vaughn's group took an interest in Lawrence about eight months ago.
Sweeney said Vaughn and his partners visited the city planning office twice last spring to lay out plans and garner feedback. Those 90-minute sessions were just preliminary talks, putting the city on notice for what Omni planned to do if it could buy the properties.
When the prospects of a deal looked good, the group returned in November to talk to residents, telling them that they expected to wrap up the deal in early January.
Vaughn played eight seasons with Boston before retiring in 2003 with the New York Mets.
Omni's first purchase was for 286 affordable units in the Bronx of New York City.
"When I got out of the game, I wanted to do something impactful," said Vaughn. "Affordable housing is a very big need, not only in the New York area, the Boston area, but nationally."