2013 LIHTC Development that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact

Winner

Poehler Lofts

Developer: Krsnich Investment Group LLC
Lawrence, Kan.

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Photo: Courtesy of Poehler Housing Partners LP
Although hidden from view, the Poehler Lofts building in Lawrence, Kan. features a 57kW solar array on its roof.

The 2013 LIHTC Property that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact Award is presented to Krsnich Investment Group LLC for the development of Poehler Lofts Apartments in Lawrence, Kan. Krsnich Investment Group LLC used $6.8 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to transform a historic mercantile building in the East Lawrence Industrial Historic District into affordable housing. Fred Bentley, director at the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, reports that prior to the renovation, the Poehler building and many other buildings in the historic district had been blighted and vacant for more than 10 years.

The redevelopment of the Poehler building had a particularly beneficial impact for creative members of the local community. The transformation of the historic building into 49 loft-style apartments provided much-needed affordable housing for local artists, Bentley said. The building’s basement was donated to the Lawrence Arts Center, which uses the space for production of large pieces of art and as rehearsal space for local shows. Krsnich Investment Group LLC also commissioned two local artists to paint a 25 foot mural in the property’s entryway. A 57kW solar array on the building’s roof powers an electric car charging station that the community can access for free.

Before the Poehler building’s renovation, Lawrence was known as an artistic town, despite not having a formal arts district. The development of Poehler Lofts Apartments served as a catalyst for additional development that helped revitalize a three block area into an arts destination known as “The Warehouse Arts District.” The district now features an art gallery, event space, office port, artist incubator, arts bistro, architecture firm, engineering firm and film company, and is considered by many to be an artistic haven for members of the Lawrence community. Bentley reports that the redevelopment of this district has created more than eight permanent jobs.

Tony Krsnich reports that Krsnich Investment Group is working on three more developments in the district, including constructing a new apartment building called The Warehouse Lofts, and renovating a 1880s ammunition storage building into a bistro. He says he has also received an offer from a 2012 James Beard Award winning chef to open a restaurant in the district.

Congratulations to Krsnich Investment Group LLC for providing affordable housing and an artistic haven for the creative community in Lawrence, Kan. 

Honorable Mention

Chalmers Square

Developer: Shelborne Development Company
Detroit, Mich.

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Photo: Courtesy of Shelborne Development Company LLC
The Chalmers Square development in Detroit, Mich. renovated three vacant historic buildings into 47 apartments and 17,000 square feet of retail space that now attracts foot traffic.

Honorable mention for the 2013 LIHTC Property that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact Award is presented to Shelborne Development Company for rehabilitating three historic, blighted buildings in the once thriving Jefferson Chalmers area of Detroit, Mich. For seven years, Shelborne Development Company collaborated with several local partners and used approximately $8 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to transform Chalmers Square from vacant buildings into affordable rental housing and retail space.

In addition to offering 49 affordable and market rate apartments, the Chalmers Square is also home to several local businesses, including a grocery, coffee shop and art gallery. These small businesses foster social interaction and retail diversity for local residents. The property’s owners are also hopeful that desirable housing can help stabilize Detroit’s communities and allow for future revitalization and long-term growth.

Honorable Mention

Garfield Commons Apartments Homes

Developer: DESCO Arizona Affordable Housing LLC
Phoneix, Ariz.

Garfield Commons
Photo: Courtesy of Garfield Sacred Heart Housing LLC
The exterior façade of this historic property is being fully restored during its renovation and conversion into the Garfield Commons Apartment Homes in Phoenix, Ariz.

The second honorable mention for the 2013 LIHTC Property that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact Award is given to DESCO Arizona Affordable Housing LLC for leveraging approximately $16 million in LIHTCs to redevelop a former Catholic nursing home into Garfield Commons Apartment Homes, affordable transitional housing for veterans, in Phoenix, Ariz.

In addition to receiving a 2012 LIHTC allocation, DESCO Arizona Affordable Housing LLC also received funding from the city of Phoenix HOME funds and an equity investment from Affordable Housing Partners LLC, a Berkshire Hathaway company.

The Garfield Commons Apartment Homes will provide 100 apartment units for low-income residents, a majority of whom are expected to be veterans. DESCO Arizona Affordable Housing LLC also plans to create a 20,000 square foot community space and special services facility that will veteran services.

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