Basketball great Alonzo Mourning has secured financing to build an 84-unit affordable housing development in Miami, the city where he played most of his 15-year career.
“I’m extremely pleased that all our hard work has finally paid off,” says Mourning, who leads his AM Affordable Housing company. “Since we were first awarded the project in 2008, we have had to overcome many obstacles to get to this point, but we persevered and ultimately succeeded for this community. Our teamwork, dedication, high energy, and hard work mirror the same qualities it takes to build a champion.”
A rookie to affordable housing, he has teamed with veteran developer Housing Trust Group (HTG), a Miami-based firm that has built both affordable and market-rate multifamily developments.
“This project doesn’t ever get off the ground without Alonzo,” says Matthew Rieger, HTG president and CEO. “In the first place, he was able to put the pieces together to get us land from the county. … He’s the impetus for this.”
The project tipped off in 2008 when Miami-Dade County granted an affiliate of AM Affordable Housing a 65-year ground lease for four acres in the Overtown neighborhood. Obtaining the land at zero land cost makes the project work financially.
Mourning, the first Miami Heat player to have his No. 33 jersey retired in 2009, is well known in the community for his philanthropic work. He helped establish the Overtown Youth Center, and the new housing development is expected to further the revitalization of the neighborhood.
Courtside Family Apartments will serve families earning no more than 60% of the area median income. The project is the first of a three-phase master-planned community. The second phase of approximately 120 units will provide seniors housing. A third phase of approximately 80 units is also planned, but the specifics have not been determined. It could be more family, seniors, or special-needs housing, says Rieger.
At this time, the developers are focused on the Courtside Family Apartments, which will soon start construction. The project will create approximately 150 jobs during the 14-month construction phase and approximately 35 permanent jobs once completed.
The development team recently closed on the financing for the $22.8 million project after several years of work. Developers originally planned for the deal to be financed with 9% low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) but realized that that was not going to work out. The project’s location made it difficult to compete against other development proposals that were closer to key services, according to Rieger.
As a result, the Courtside team switched its plans to a 4% LIHTC and tax-exempt bond execution.
The development costs are an estimated $22.8 million. The project will feature an array of amenities. It was a slam dunk that the project would include a secure outdoor area with a basketball court. There will also be a community room, a theater/lab room, a computer lab, and a fitness center.
The financing sources include approximately $9 million in LIHTC equity from RBC Capital Markets Tax Credit Equity Group. The credits were awarded by Florida Housing.
The Miami-Dade Housing Finance Authority provided $13 million in tax-exempt multifamily revenue bonds to finance the construction and permanent phases of the development. These bonds were privately placed with Citi Community Capital.
Other financing includes a $7.5 million loan from the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency and $1.75 million from a Miami-Dade County surtax loan.