2019 Development that Best Preserves Rural Community Impact

Big Chair Lofts

Developer: Third Wave Housing/Cohen-Esrey Development Group
Owner: Big Chair World LLC 
Location: Thomasville, N.C. 

2019 Development that Best Preserves Rural Community Impact DOD Winner Big Chair Lofts

Third Wave Housing/Cohen-Esrey Development Group used both 4 percent and 9 percent LIHTCs to convert a historic furniture mill in Thomasville, N.C., into 139 affordable homes called Big Chair Lofts.

The development offers similar amenities to other market-rate lofts, including a two-story community space, a movie theater and a fitness center. Included in these amenities is after-school care and financial literacy courses. 

In 2016, the development lost its original tax credit investor, but pushed forward using its own funds and with cooperation from the bond investor and other stakeholders. A new tax credit investor was found and the full funding package closed in August 2017. 

“A beautiful development of an old mill,” said Philip Melton, a DOD judge and executive vice president and national director of affordable housing and FHA lending for Bellwether Enterprise. “I love the way they kept a lot of the historical look inside the building and incorporated into the overall design.”

Return to 2019 Developments of Distinction Award Recipients