Developer: Chicago Housing Authority Architect: AECOM

Major Funders: JPMorgan Chase; Red Stone Partners, LLC; Bank of America; Chicago Housing Authority

CHICAGO— As the financial markets slid into chaos, the last piece of a complex financing puzzle fell into place for Britton Budd Apartments.

The 172 crumbling seniors apartments needed extensive work—from a new heating system to repairs to the plaster.

In September 2008, the project found a buyer willing to pay $0.95 on the dollar for its 4 percent low-income housing tax credits. Work started that month on a $39 million renovation.

Britton Budd found tax credit investors willing to pay top dollar despite, or perhaps because of, its unique nature.

First, it's public housing, which meant investors were unable to buy the land under Britton Budd. Instead they took out a ground lease on the site. Britton Budd is also set in a historic hotel, with all the restrictions on redevelopment that come with landmark status.

But uniqueness is also Britton Budd's strength. Landmark status gave it access to $5.9 million in equity from the sale of federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

Also, as public housing, Britton Budd came with an experienced, well-capitalized developer that has successfully redeveloped thousands of seniors apartments: the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA).

Britton Budd received soft loans to the tune of $15.7 million in CHA public housing capital improvement funds and $6.3 million in seller financing from the authority.

The CHA also sweetened the deal by delaying the moment when tax credit investors had to pay until after the renovation was completed in September 2009.

Finally, Britton Budd was desirable simply because of its place in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. “I was blown away by just the location,” says Bryan Kilbane, vice president of Red Stone Partners, LLC. —Bendix Anderson


Developer: Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and Cogswell Hall, Inc. Architect: Dale Serne Architects

Major Funders: Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing; Ohio Housing Finance Agency; City of Cleveland Housing Trust Fund; Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati; Cleveland Foundation; Enterprise Green Communities

CLEVELAND— Cogswell Hall first opened its doors in 1914 to needy children as a “Home for Friendless Girls.”

In the 1930s and 1940s, young women lived in the 30 tiny, 100-square-foot rooms. More recently, this single-room occupancy building has been home to seniors living alone.

Last December, Cogswell Hall welcomed its newest residents after a gut renovation doubled its size, making room for 40 small studio apartments. A mix of male and female, low- and very low-income people now take advantage of Cogswell's many supportive-housing services.

The redevelopment benefited from a combination of good luck, hard work, and patience. Developers Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization and Cogswell Hall, Inc., applied twice for a reservation of lowincome housing tax credits, then handed out by lottery. In 2007, Ohio began to award tax credits based on merit, and Cogswell received the highest score in its category.

Tax credit syndicator Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) paid more than $4.4 million, more than $0.90 on the dollar, for the tax credits. OCCH also bought Cogswell's state and historic tax credits, closing the deal in 2008, just months before the financial crisis.

To pay for the rest of the $7.8 million redevelopment, Cogswell won grants from foundations that required the entire building, new and old, to win both a silver certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and a certification from Enterprise Green Communities.

Cogswell handled the entire renovation without displacing residents. —Bendix Anderson


Developer: Umpqua Community Development Corp. Architect: Dallas Horn

Major Funders: National Equity Fund, Inc.; Oregon Housing and Community Services; NeighborWorks America; Enterprise Green Communities

NORTH BEND, ORE.— Until 2008, the half-empty Hotel North Bend loomed over the main intersection of this rural Pacific Coast downtown, dropping chunks of concrete on the sidewalk below.

Built in 1921, this historic landmark is now energy efficient and strong enough to survive an earthquake, with retail space on the first floor and 32 apartments affordable to low- and very low-income people above.

Umpqua Community Development Corp. worked since 2004 to redevelop the old hotel. By 2008, Umpqua had gathered $6 million from 10 different sources. But it took a special resilience to survive the earthquake of the financial crisis.

National Equity Fund, Inc. (NEF), had agreed to buy Hotel North Bend's 9 percent low-income housing tax credits for $0.94 on the dollar. NEF kept its promise, though the price dropped to $0.90—a $160,000 difference to the project's budget.

“The market as a whole dropped $0.15 to $0.20,” says Betty Tamm, executive director of Umpqua. “We were lucky.”

But NEF also reviewed the underwriting for Hotel North Bend and asked for $1.6 million in additional seismic engineering to protect the building from earthquakes.

Engineers wove seven miles of steel tie wire and more than 40,000 pounds of steel rebar between a massive interior wall and the historic hotel's reinforced concrete Tudor Revival façade.

Umpqua also added insulation, energy-efficient windows, and an efficient, central forced-air, heat recapturing, heating, ventilation, and cooling system—improvements that helped Hotel North Bend win funds to close its budget gap.

By the time it was finished last December, the $8 million project met the high standards of the Enterprise Green Communities. —Bendix Anderson