Seniors have a new affordable place to live in a prime location in Montgomery County, Md.

The 11-story Bonifant at Silver Spring is the first project in the county that co-locates three key uses—senior housing, a new public library, and a future light-rail station, according to Robert Goldman, president of the Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP).

MHP, a nonprofit that has built more than 1,800 housing units, co-developed The Bonifant with The Donohoe Cos., a for-profit firm experienced in high-rise development.

The Bonifant at Silver Spring is adjacent to the new Silver Spring, Md., library.
The Bonifant at Silver Spring is adjacent to the new Silver Spring, Md., library.

The 149-unit project comes at a time when a big revitalization effort in Silver Spring has led to a number of luxury apartments being built. The Bonifant helps fills the need for affordable housing in the community.

“This provides an opportunity for long-time residents to be able to stay in Silver Spring,” says Goldman.

The development, which celebrated its opening this month, is also unique because it has zero parking. This was allowed because there’s a parking lot a block away. Eliminating on-site parking also eased concerns about cars exiting onto Bonifant Street, where the light-rail train will run, according to Goldman, who says the move to not have parking is a bit of an experiment for a downtown building. The property does have several paces for people to use when dropping off groceries and other short-term uses.

The $44 million project features 149 apartments plus a large community room, a cyber cafe with computers, and a fitness center.
The $44 million project features 149 apartments plus a large community room, a cyber cafe, and a fitness center.

Almost all of the apartments in the mixed-income development are affordable. Fifteen units are reserved for seniors 62 years and older earning no more than 30% of the area median income (AMI); 43 units are for residents earning no more than 50% of the AMI; and 81 units are for those at 60% of the AMI. Ten units have no income restrictions.

The building has about 6,400 square feet of retail space, enough for about four commercial tenants. The first will be a dentist’s office.

The lobby of The Bonifant at Silver Spring.
The lobby of The Bonifant at Silver Spring.

The $44 million project is financed with 4% low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and tax-exempt bonds. Capital One is the LIHTC investor, and Enterprise Community Investment is the syndicator of the housing credits, which are providing approximately $12.5 million. The state of Maryland issued $22 million of short-term bonds. The team used the tax-exempt bonds during construction and then turned to a long-term Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan.

Wells Fargo is the direct lender on the $15 million FHA Sec. 221(d)(4) loan that was facilitated by AGM Financial. MHP also received a $77,000 grant from Wells Fargo for the property’s resident services program.

Additional financing include a $3.6 million loan from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, which allocated the LIHTCs; a $13.4 million soft loan from the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs. In addition to providing approximately $50,000 in grant funds for a construction manager on the project, NeighborWorks America provided h a $75,000 grant for the resident services program.

Part of the money provided by the county allows MHP to have units serve residents at 30% of the AMI.

VOA Associates, now Stantec, designed The Bonifant with active seniors in mind. The smoke-free residential building features 10 studios, 119 one-bedroom, and 20 two-bedroom units, a large community room, a cyber café with computers, a fitness center featuring senior-specific equipment, secure-access entry and on-site management, an outdoor terrace, and incorporated green space.

Montgomery County continues to own the land. MHP is the long-term owner of the property and holds a 77-year lease.

More than 800 people have expressed interest in renting the units since the project broke ground in June 2014.