Sugar Estate is providing 80 units of affordable housing for seniors on the east side of the foothills in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Courtesy The Michaels Organization Sugar Estate is providing 80 units of affordable housing for seniors on the east side of the foothills in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

A public-private partnership has created 80 units of state-of-the-art affordable housing for seniors in St. Thomas, the gateway city to the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

Development partners Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) and Marlton, N.J.–based The Michaels Development Co., along with island legislators, celebrated the grand opening of Sugar Estate in May. This is the first senior housing development built with VIHA as a co-developer on St. Thomas.

“We are so proud to be able to offer our seniors much-needed affordable housing in a modern state-of-the-art community,” said Noreen Michael, chair of the VIHA board of commissioners and president of the Virgin Islands Housing Revitalization Corp.

Serving seniors with low to moderate incomes, each unit is handicapped adaptable and features energy-efficient appliances. Social services with a focus on wellness and resident empowerment through independent living will be provided, including medical screenings, nutritional counseling services, financial workshops, and social activities.

In addition to the services, amenities include laundry facilities, a large community room with a kitchenette, a computer learning center, and a living room that serves as a quiet reading and/or visiting space.

The $35.7 million development was financed primarily through 9% low-income housing tax credits allocated by the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority and syndicated by Riverside Capital. Additional financing included Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority funds, VIHA disposition proceeds, and a Federal Home Loan Bank of New York Affordable Housing Program award.

Additional partners in the development include Prestige Building Co., which served as the general contractor, and Springline Architects, a local architecture firm. Prestige and its subcontractors employed nearly 140 island residents during construction of Sugar Estate. Interstate Realty Management, a sister company of The Michaels Development Co., will serve as property manager.