Abe Draper

Royal Cambridge Homes brings together a light renovation of one property, a gut rehab of another, and the construction of a new affordable housing development at a third distinct site in Alexandria, Louisiana.

The Alexandria Housing Authority partnered with developer BGC Advantage on the complicated 384-unit project, which included rehabbing a public housing development that had yet to address the damage sustained during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many of the homes were vacant and left exposed to the elements with trees growing in them.

Abe Draper

Utilizing the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, the team converted the public housing units to the Section 8 rental assistance program and addressed the needed repairs at the former East and West Sycamore property. It also made light renovations at Legacy, a property build in 2009. Within feet of this site, the team built the 96-unit Woodland Pointe, a new construction development.

The project was much smaller when it was originally conceived, but the team expanded it to include the redevelopment of 224 units at the East and West Sycamore project. This allowed the developers to rehabilitate the damaged property as well as restructure their deal as a 4% low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and bond transaction after tax reform created turmoil in the LIHTC market.

“I believe in linking affordable housing with economic development,” says Holly Knight, CEO of BGC Advantage, adding that the projects are near the newly constructed Rapides Parish Coliseum, the England Airpark, and Rapides Regional Medical Center. “Residents are close to amenities and workplaces.”

The project was completed in 2020 after going through three tornadoes, three hurricanes, and the COVID-19 pandemic during construction.

The $53.9 million development is covered by a combination of traditional project-based vouchers and RAD vouchers.