Seniors Housing Planned at Former For-Sale Community

APPLE VALLEY, MINN. The Midtown Village complex here was originally planned as a market-rate development of for-sale townhomes and condos. But with the tanking of the for-sale market, a portion of the complex is proposed instead to become affordable apartments for seniors.

Local residential builder Wensmann Homes is partnering with the Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) on the project. The CDA will manage the project’s 60 seniors apartments and 31 townhomes. Even though city officials are happy about the switchover, homeowners at the project are not pleased that renters will be moving in, city officials said.

“Apple Valley is clearly one of those cities that we want to prioritize because it has a growing senior population,” said Mark Ulfers, CDA’s executive director.

The Midtown Village complex is part of the county’s plan to provide more affordable housing for its seniors. The county plans to build 10 complexes in the next 12 years, including projects in the cities of Eagan and Lakeville.

In Dakota County, the population of people aged 65 or older is expected to more than triple by 2030, to 86,000 from 26,250.

If approved by city officials, the Midtown Village project would be CDA’s 20th affordable seniors housing project.


Affordable Apartments for East Harlem

NEW YORK CITY Phipps Houses and Urban Builders Collaborative will develop affordable housing on New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)-owned sites in East Harlem. The properties, known as Metro-North, consist of 17 six-story walkup tenement buildings.

At least 300 of the total 339 units will be permanently affordable. The remaining 39 apartments will be affordable to households with mixed incomes. NYCHA will receive an annual lease payment under the terms of a long-term ground lease for the property. These proceeds will go to help modernize and preserve public housing throughout the city.

The sites, which were once Federal Housing Administration-foreclosed properties, were given to NYCHA in the late 1980s by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In 1990, NYCHA completed rehab work on the properties and has since operated them as Sec. 8 housing. A number of the buildings are currently vacant, and NYCHA is in the process of relocating the remaining tenants to facilitate the redevelopment.

Grant Program Established to Combat Buffalo’s Blight

BUFFALO, NY The New York State Affordable Housing Corp. (AHC) has announced a $3 million program to combat blight and help rebuild individual neighborhoods in this city.

The Block-by-Block program will offer funding to nonprofits and municipalities to rebuild and renovate existing housing as part of larger redevelopment plans that could also include improvements of adjoining lots to create community gardens or green, open spaces.

AHC funds cannot be used for demolition or deconstruction, but eligible organizations are encouraged to work with the city and its programs aimed at demolishing unsafe buildings and selling cityowned properties.

AHC’s Block-by-Block grants will be limited to no more than 60 percent funding for any specific project, requiring applicants to seek at least 40 percent of their funding from other sources. Those sources can include government or foundation grants, homeowner downpayments or mortgage debt, or the applicants’ own resources.

“Our interest is in building the networks and support systems that hold neighborhoods together, not in simply knocking down vacant structures, as important a first step as that may be,” said Robert D. Gioia, president of the John R. Oishei Foundation of Buffalo.

To apply for a Block-by-Block grant, visit AHC’s Web site, www.nyhomes.org.


Centerline Provides Financing for Acquisition/Rehab

Centerline Holding Co., the parent company of Centerline Capital Group, has provided more than $72 million in debt and equity financing to The Reliant Group, a San Francisco-based development firm, and a group of nonprofit developers to acquire and rehabilitate a 20- property multifamily portfolio. The properties are located in more than a dozen cities throughout Texas and New Mexico.

An additional $24 million was provided through other sources, bringing the total transaction size to $96 million.

The proceeds will be used to renovate 1,418 units of housing subsidized by HUD. The properties have high occupancy rates, typically between 98 percent and 100 percent. Renovations are expected to be completed by late 2008.

FEMA Closing Trailer Sites

NEW ORLEANS The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is closing temporary trailer parks across the city, leaving residents scrambling to find affordable apartments.

The agency closed one trailer park in mid-November by affixing notices to trailer doors in mid-October, reported the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The notice referred residents to a caseworker and two apartment-search Web sites, both of them nonfunctional.

“It is recommended that your next move is into permanent housing since all parks will be closing,” the notice said.

Neither the agency nor FEMA has publicly announced any trailer park closures. But according to the Times-Picayune, eviction notices had been delivered to almost half of the parks in New Orleans.

The trailer parks were always planned as temporary housing for those left without housing after Hurricane Katrina. But the abrupt move by FEMA leaves residents looking for apartments in a city without many affordable options. Thirty-eight sites remained open at press time. These parks are home to about 3,000 residents. The number of FEMA trailers throughout the Gulf Coast peaked at about 120,000.

In April 2007, FEMA and HUD officials announced that the Gulf Coast temporary housing assistance programs, which include FEMA trailers, had been extended through March 1, 2009.


Partnership Acquires Historic L.A. Hotel

LOS ANGELES TThe Rosslyn, a 12-story hotel located downtown, has been acquired for $24.5 million by Rosslyn Lofts Housing Partners, a partnership between Buxbaum Group and The Amberland Group.

The team plans to renovate the hotel, which was built in 1913, into the Rosslyn Lofts, a mix of nearly 300 affordable and market-rate apartments. The renovation is expected to cost $20 million.

Most of the units—more than 85 percent— will target households with incomes maxing out at between 35 percent and 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). Plans also call for approximately 8,000 square feet of retail space.

All units will feature new plumbing and wiring, ceiling fans, and finished concrete floors. Amenities will include laundry facilities and a community room.

Funding for the acquisition was provided by $28.5 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority. Additional financing was provided by Citicorp Municipal Mortgage, Inc., and the Community Redevelopment Agency of the city of Los Angeles. Red Capital Group was the tax credit investor.

The project marks the second development in downtown Los Angeles for Buxbaum and Amberland. The duo acquired the Alexandria Hotel in 2006 and is in the process of developing it into 463 affordable apartments and commercial space.

BRIDGE Housing Finishing Affordable Project

FREMONT, CALIF. Irvington Terrace, a 100-unit affordable housing complex, is nearly complete here. The development is targeting households with incomes topping out at between 30 percent and 50 percent of the AMI. The developer is BRIDGE Housing Corp.

The $33 million development is part of Irvington Village, a new 8.6-acre mixed-use project. The units are located within a three-story building atop a parking garage. Every unit has a private balcony or patio.

Financing for the affordable units was provided by the city of Fremont, the city’s Redevelopment Agency, the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the Housing Authority of the County of Alameda, Wells Fargo Bank, MMA Financial, and the California Community Reinvestment Corp.