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Low-Income Housing Tax Credits News Briefs - February 2011

AFFORDABLE HOUSING INDUSTRY

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved a proposed rule to expand its definition of "municipal advisors" to include the appointed board members of housing and other government finance agencies. Mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the proposed rule also calls for SEC to create a registration system for municipal advisors and impose a federal fiduciary standard on such advisors. Because most appointed housing finance agency (HFA) board members are not HFA employees, they would be subject to the rule's requirements for municipal advisors, including registering with SEC and providing disciplinary history information, the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) said. Moreover, the rule imposes heightened fiduciary standards that would make municipal advisors civilly and criminally liable for violation of the SEC's regulations. NCSHA said it will submit comments on behalf of all HFAs urging the SEC to exempt HFA's board members from the definition of municipal advisor. The SEC's deadline for comments on the proposed rule is February 22.

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The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) new Energy Star label guidelines took effect in January. The EPA said that it has established an implementation schedule for HFA-financed multifamily properties to allow time for them to adjust. Multifamily developments can earn the Energy Star label under version 2.0's guidelines until January 1, 2013 as long as the HFA has received the property's funding application before April 1, 2011. If the HFA receives the application on or after April 1, then the property must earn the Energy Star label under version 2.5's guidelines. If the application is received after January 1, 2012, the property must meet version 3.0 guidelines to qualify. More information on the guidelines and implementation schedule is available at the EPA's Energy Star site.

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The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Thrift Supervision adopted a joint final rule to revise rules regarding implementation of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The agencies expanded the term "community development" to include financial institutions' investments and services that support projects or activities described in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) and are conducted in areas designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The agencies will grant favorable CRA consideration for activities in NSP target areas designated as "areas of greatest need." Favorable consideration will be available under the revised rule until two years after the last date grantees are required to spend the appropriated funds. Once the agencies have determined the rule's determination date, they will provide advance notice to institutions.

DEALMAKERS

The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Pittsburgh approved almost $2.7 million in Affordable Housing Program grants to finance the creation of nearly 400 housing units in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. FHLB said the 10 rental and five homeownership developments selected to receive funding will serve the chronically homeless, seniors, veterans and individuals recovering from substance abuse. A complete list of the grants awarded is available on the bank's web site at FHLB Pittsburgh.

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PNC announced the closing of PNC Tax Credit Capital Institutional Fund 45, a $256 million limited partnership investment. The fund is composed of investments in 31 operating partnerships involving multifamily housing properties that target households earning as much as 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). The fund's properties are located in 18 states and total nearly 3,800 units. PNC said 12 institutional investors acquired limited partnership interests in the fund and will derive a return based primarily on the receipt of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and passive losses from real estate depreciation.

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Stratford Capital announced that it had raised more than $125 million in equity for 21 LIHTC developments in 2010. The properties, financed with both 4 and 9 percent LIHTCs, are located in 11 states and represent 2,879 units. Stratford reported that its multifamily rental housing portfolio consists of approximately 8,000 rental units in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

STATE

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced that under its fall 2010 LIHTC and rental housing funds (RHF) competitive funding round, developers of five properties with more than $54 million in total project costs received awards. These funds will be used to construct and rehabilitate 255 rental units, including 41 units designated for residents with disabilities. DHCD reported that it had received 19 qualified applications and awarded $16 million in RHF and $3.7 million in LIHTCs. Projects selected to receive funding are Homes at Elkton, in Chesapeake; Marley Meadows, in Glen Burnie; North Avenue Gateway, in Baltimore; Villages in Highland Commons, in Aberdeen; and Mid Pine Estates, in Princess Anne. The agency estimates that the properties' construction-related expenditures will generate approximately $14.5 million in direct payroll, the equivalent of roughly 315 full-time jobs, and nearly $1 million in state and local tax receipts for Maryland.

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Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) awarded its entire $22.8 million LIHTC allocation to Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) for the redevelopment of Loussac Manor in Anchorage. The 50-year-old public housing site is the first that AHFC has converted into private rental housing through the use of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and LIHTCs. Loussac Manor's residents were relocated last summer and demolition is under way, AHFC said. CIHA's redevelopment proposal includes 120 rental units and a community building to replace the demolished structures. Approximately 37 percent of the units will be set aside for working households that earn more than 60 percent of the AMI and the remaining units are reserved for households earning less than 60 percent of the AMI. CIHA pledged as much as $6 million of its own resources to the project and will also seek loan financing from AHFC.

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The Alabama Housing Finance Authority (AHFA) announced that it will accept applications for LIHTC and HOME funding from March 15 through March 17. The agency has tentatively scheduled an application workshop for February 14 and said that it will release further details regarding the application cycle and workshop via e-mail. Sign up for AHFA's e-mail distribution list at the Alabama Housing Finance Authority.

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New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) approved $342 million in funding to build and preserve 541 affordable housing units. The awards include nearly $339 million in financing from the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation; $2.75 million in community development block grants approved by the Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC) board; and additional community planning awards from the HTFC board of more than $678,000 for 24 municipalities and counties. View the complete list of approved funding and award recipients on HCR's web site.

PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY

Wyman B. Winston was appointed executive director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) in January. Wyman has worked for WHEDA for 14 years as a senior manager, first in multifamily and later in the emerging markets group. He launched WHEDA's LIHTC program, helped preserve the authority's oldest housing portfolio and prepared WHEDA's initial proposal for participation in the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program. Wyman has also spent 10 years at other redevelopment agencies, where he oversaw Atlanta, Ga.'s first retail and job creation tax increment financing; implemented the Atlanta Development Authority's NMTC activities; and managed the Portland Development Commission's housing department.

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Gov. Nathan Deal reappointed Mike Beatty as Georgia Department of Community Affairs' (DCA's) commissioner. In news from the agency's board of directors, the board elected Valdosta, Ga. mayor John Fretti as secretary, to replace newly-elected state Rep. Bruce Williamson. Sam Olens also left DCA's board in December, to become the state's attorney general.

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John Colvin joined Raymond James Tax Credit Funds Inc. as director of acquisitions, in charge of the company's property acquisitions in the Southeast. Colvin previously spent seven years at Regions Bank where he was responsible for tax credit equity originations and construction lending throughout the Southeast. His real estate background includes managing multifamily developments from underwriting through construction and stabilization. Colvin holds business and finance degrees from the University of Alabama. He is a member of Birmingham's Young Real Estate Professionals and serves on the board of a CRA-focused real estate equity fund.

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The Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) hired Michael de la Torre and Toni Lombardozzi in January. De la Torre serves as a rental programs specialist. Prior to joining ADOH, he worked for Global Premiere Development Inc., a development firm active in the LIHTC program. De la Torre received a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fullerton and holds a real estate license. Lombardozzi has joined ADOH as a compliance officer. She was most recently a U.S. Census Bureau crew leader during the 2010 Census. Lombardozzi holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Savannah College of Art and Design.

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Wisconsin-based Reinhart Boerner Van Dueren SC announced the opening of its new office in Phoeniz, Ariz. The three attorneys leading Reinhart's new office are John A. Erich, a shareholder in the real estate and business law practice areas; William Invie Shroyer, a shareholder in the real estate, banking and finance, and business law practice areas; and William F. Flynn, chair of the firm's banking and finance practice area. The new office brings the firm's total number of offices to six. Other locations include Milwaukee, Madison and Waukesha, Wis.; Rockford, Ill.; and Denver, Colo. National Law Journal named Reinhart one of the nation's 200 largest law firms.

BONDS

The AFL-CIO Housing Trust (HIT) invested $90 million in mortgage-backed securities to refinance the Lands End II development. The transaction will preserve the affordability of 490 rental units in two 26-story towers on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Built in 1979, Lands End II was New York City's first Section 8 property. With this financing, HIT said it has surpassed $500 million in investments in New York City since it launched its New York City Community Investment Initiative in 2002.

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Red Mortgage Capital LLC underwrote and processed nearly $24 million in Section 221(d)(4) mortgage financing to secure tax-exempt bonds for a senior community in Los Angeles, Calif. NoHo Senior Arts Colony will offer 126 one- and two-bedroom independent living units for persons ages 62 and older. Twenty percent of the units will be rent-restricted. Amenities include a pool, a jacuzzi, a library, art studios, classrooms, gallery space, computer and film labs, and a radio recording and editing room. A professional theater group will operate a 76-seat theater in the community that residents and the general public will be able to access. In addition to bond financing, the $42 million project utilized tax credits, grants and funding from the Community Redevelopment Agency of the city of Los Angeles.

Journal Category:

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits

Authors:

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