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    R. Higgins

For Norstar Development USA, LP, it's not about being the biggest developer, says President Richard Higgins.

“If we can do four or five closings and complete four or five, that's what we're staffed for and happy with.”

And for 2012, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based developer is on target, anticipating to start six developments with 438 units and to complete five developments with 334 units.

The firm recently started construction on a historic rehab project in Albany, N.Y., turning an old school into artist housing. The 22-unit Academy Lofts is being financed with state and federal historic rehab tax credits as well as low-income housing tax credits and is expected to be completed in 2013.

Also in the pipeline for Norstar in 2012 is a 170-unit phase of Gardenview Estates in Detroit, which is part of the ongoing redevelopment of the Detroit Housing Commission's former Herman Gardens public housing site.

When all of the phases have been completed within the next couple of years, the overall project will have approximately 500 units. 

The firm also is looking to participate in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Choice Neighborhoods program.

At press time, it had responded to an RFP for a public housing authority that had been awarded a planning grant for Choice Neighborhoods.

“We do a lot of HOPE VI work, so it's consistent with things we've done before,” says Higgins.