2012 LIHTC Development that Best Reflects Market Success in Overcoming Significant Obstacles

Winner

Faubourg Lafitte

Developer: L&M Development Partners; Enterprise Community Partners; Providence Community Housing
Owner: L&M Development Partners; Enterprise Community Partners; Providence Community Housing
Location: New Orleans, La.

Faubourg Lafitte
Faubourg Lafitte 4

Faubourg Lafitte is a historic New Orleans neighborhood rich with character, but also one in particular need of improvements to its existing affordable housing. This project, set to include 134 LIHTC units constructed on a former Lafitte public housing site, initially faced strong opposition. In addition to a large number of residents and historic preservationists who did not want to see the site demolished, another faction of community members and individuals were opposed to seeing Faubourg Lafitte restored as a community with affordable housing.

Faubourg Lafitte 7

Developers L&M Development Partners, Enterprise Community Partners and Providence Community Housing were extremely sensitive to these numerous, disparate voices, and put forth a Homebuilding Plan that was sensitive to the neighborhood character and that would enhance its surrounding community. The development team then began to implement the Homebuilding Plan, a key feature of which was creating a street grid system to reconnect the site to the existing neighborhood. This $14 million infrastructure component started in August 2009, and presented a challenge because the eight-block site’s infrastructure needed to be completed in advance of the housing construction.

By the time infrastructure work was sufficiently completed to begin vertical construction of homes, the placed in service deadline for the Gulf Opportunity Zone Low Income Housing Tax Credit was fast approaching. With only eight months remaining to complete 134 units, or lose tax credits and equity, the Development Team and public and private funders had to find creative ways to finance the project and take some risk. They were eventually able to fund $35.4 million in total development costs by using six sources of capital financing. The team also overcame the challenge of managing flood elevation and handicap accessibility requirements while still maintaining a traditional front step/stoop configuration.

Honorable Mention

Village at Westerly Creek

Developer: Housing Authority of the City of Aurora, Colorado ("AHA")
Owner: VWC1 LLLP
Location: Aurora, Colo.

Village at Westerly Creek

The Village at Westerly Creek project overcame a myriad of challenges, eventually resulting in the complete renovation of an existing, obsolete public housing development for seniors. While the easiest option to complete the project would have been to demolish the entire site and issue the existing residents vouchers, the existing property provided home and community to particularly vulnerable senior and disabled residents, a great deal of which had average incomes below the poverty line, had physical or mental disabilities or had lived in the community for over 5 years. Discovery and abatement of asbestos, and the re-zoning of the site to accommodate high density, were also a major challenge that needed to be addressed before construction could begin. Construction began in September 2012, and the second phase of the project is due to commence in 2013.

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