LIHTC DOD Awardees Span Nation, Spark Affordable Housing Development

Published by Brad Stanhope on Thursday, July 1, 2021
Journal Cover Thumb July 2021

Major developments in Columbus, Ohio, and Norfolk, Virginia, along with a senior property in rural Durango, Colorado, are among the winners in the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Developments of Distinction (DOD) Awards.

The awards honor participants who strive for excellence in affordable housing. Awardees are properties financed by low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity or with U.S. Department of Housing funding.

This year’s awardees are the Redevelopment of Poindexter Village in Columbus, Ohio; The Retreat at Harbor Pointe in Norfolk, Virginia; Culpepper Garden I in Arlington, Virginia; Main Street Apartments in Rockville, Maryland; and Miremonte, near Durango, Colorado. Winners will be celebrated at the Novogradac 2021 Credit and Bond Conference, Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Nashville, Tennessee, and on livestream.

Following are descriptions of the five winning properties.

Metropolitan Community Impact

The Redevelopment of Poindexter Village by the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and McCormack Baron Salazar spurred so much development that the Near East Side neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio, is now one of the most desired places to live in the city. The development, which began in 2014 with the 104-unit senior property Poindexter Place, includes 450 new mixed-income units–329 of which are for low-income residents. The full development also includes the senior-focused Poindexter Place, multifamily focused Legacy Pointe at Poindexter and The Harris, which contains market-rate apartments and is a historic renovation.

The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing provided $48 million in LIHTC equity for the $125.7 million property.

“Poindexter Village represents the best of what communities can achieve by working together to reinvest in a historic neighborhood and provide families with beautiful and affordable homes for the future,” said Elizabeth Glynn, chief executive officer at Travois and a DOD judge. “Community leaders, inspired by the work of the neighborhood’s namesake, abolitionist, activist and politician Rev. James Preston Poindexter, worked to save the neglected area and breathe new life into the historically African American community known for its thriving arts, music and culture. I’m thrilled to see its recognition with this award.”

Family Housing

The Retreat at Harbor Pointe in Norfolk, Virginia, not only provides 246 families with affordable housing in a new, modern apartment community, but involved significant remediation and work that will eventually connect a boardwalk with the existing 22.5-mile Elizabeth River Trail. The development received $22.2 million in federal LIHTC equity from Wells Fargo Affordable Housing Community Development Corporation and offers high-end amenities such as a resort-style pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, modern kitchens, energy-efficient appliances, granite countertops and a patio or balcony.

Developer Lawson Cos. raised the site out of a 100-year flood plan, replaced non-native vegetation with salt-tolerant native reeds, installed rip-rap to stabilize the shoreline and oyster castles to create habitat for the oysters to naturally cleanse the river. In addition to the apartments, there will be a retail component on the site within two years, continuing the effort to provide affordable housing, remove an eyesore, make new trails available to the public and stimulate the local economy.

“This is a beautiful property with an awesome location,” said DOD judge Ray Landry of Davis-Penn Mortgage Co. “There’s nothing for the NIMBYs to complain about.”

Preservation of Existing Affordable Rental Housing

The eight-story, 210-unit senior property Culpepper Garden I in Arlington, Virginia, had its first substantial renovation since the complex was built in 1975, providing the replacement of major mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; upgrading interior finishes; installing new energy-efficient windows; repairing the building skin on exterior walls and adding six additional units. Nonprofit owner Arlington Retirement Housing Corporation paired with Wesley Housing to complete the renovation, which also included creating 21 units that meet Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards and American National Standards Institute Type A requirements.

The $59.8 million development received $16.6 million in LIHTC equity from the Virginia Community Development Corporation, as well as $10.7 million from the Affordable Housing Investment Fund. With Arlington County ranking among the 15 wealthiest counties in the nation, the renovation of a large senior affordable housing property provides stability for an additional 60 years. The property reached 100% occupancy in December 2020, with 95% of residents being older than 66.

“This is a thorough modernization of a senior midrise without astronomical development costs,” said Landry.

Special Needs Populations

Main Street Apartments in Rockville, Maryland, was conceived, designed and developed by RST Development LLC and Main Street Connect Inc. with the principles of inclusion, affordability and sustainability. The 70-unit mixed-income, mixed-use property reserves 25% of units for special-needs individuals and fully embraces the culture of inclusion.

The development also includes a 10,000-square-foot community center where nonprofit partner Main Street Connect provides a range of programming and events for the building’s residents and other community members. The Soulfull Café, located in the building, provides employment opportunities for members of the special-needs community. Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investment provided $15 million in LIHTC equity for the $30.7 million property.

Beyond the property, the development team conducted a webinar for others interested in similar projects and has built multiple relationships with community organizations.

“Main Street Apartments is a fantastic example of what is possible through creative problem-solving,” said DOD judge Glynn. “The developers identified a solution for a deeply personal situation, the future of their 21-year-old son with developmental disabilities, and in doing so created a home for 70 individuals with special needs to live independently in Rockville, Maryland.”

Rural Community Impact

Miremonte, in Durango, Colorado, serves vulnerable seniors in a community of less than 19,000 residents, but one that draws retirees and visitors. Developer/owner Volunteers of America (VOA) paired with the Durango Senior Center and Housing Solutions of the Southwest to connect seniors in the surrounding community with Miremonte, which has direct access to a nature center and medical center. That helps ensure the best possible health outcomes for the property’s residents.

Wells Fargo invested $14.6 million in LIHTC equity in the 53-unit property, which includes a community room, resident lounge, outdoor terrace and gardens. The on-site management and services coordination are done by VOA Colorado, providing residents with access to essential services and programs.

“Another gorgeous senior development by a fantastic organization,” said DOD judge Landry.

Honorable Mention

Metropolitan Community Impact: Innovia, Fremont, California (Developer: St. Anton Communities LLC)

Family Housing: Belle Rivers, Oxford, Mississippi (Developer: LOU-HOME Inc.)

Preservation of Existing Affordable Rental Housing: Carrolltowne Village, Eldersburg, Maryland (Developer: TM Associates Development Inc.)

Special Needs Population: Casa Querencia, Santa Ana, California (Developer: Community Development Partners)

Rural Community Impact: Osborn Commons, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Developer: Woda Cooper Companies Inc.)