ROI Renovates Two Projects

KALAMAZOO, MICH. A nonprofit group has renovated two apartments located here and in nearby Portage for specialneeds residents. Locally based Residential Opportunities, Inc. (ROI), is the developer.

The properties are Duke Lane Apartments in Kalamazoo and Barrington Woods Apartments in Portage. Twenty of the two-bedroom apartments within the two complexes are available for rent by households with special needs that are earning no more than 30 percent of the area median income (AMI). The remaining 28 units will be rented to households with incomes maxing out at 50 percent of the AMI. In the Kalamazoo area, 30 percent of the median income for a family of four is $18,180 per year; 50 percent of the median income is $30,300.

Three of the units are barrier-free in accordance with fair housing standards, and 17 units are accessible to those with mobility challenges, according to ROI. The nonprofit acquired and upgraded both apartment complexes, with financing from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage, the National Equity Fund, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Republic Management, Fifth-Third Bank, and the Local Initiatives Support Corp.


SONYMA Offers Low Mortgage Rates to Sec. 8 Recipients


The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) is partnering with the state's Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and public housing authorities around the state to offer very low 2 percent fixed-rate mortgages to recipients of Sec. 8 vouchers to help them become first-time homebuyers. The SONYMA Sec. 8 Voucher Homeownership Mortgage Program is designed to encourage sustainable homeownership among low- and moderate- income households in New York at a time when tightening credit has made it more difficult to obtain financing from conventional lenders.

Under the program, eligible voucher recipients who successfully complete homeownership counseling courses and receive a Sec. 8 homeownership voucher can use the assistance to pay their mortgage instead of their monthly rent. The program will also free up resources for local public housing authorities and local Sec. 8 administrators, enabling them to help more voucher recipients purchase homes.

Renters must participate in the Sec. 8 voucher program for at least 12 months, be working full time, and meet income guidelines to be eligible for the homeownership program.


Cochran Renovating Public Housing

ST. LOUISCochran Redevelopment Partners is breathing new life into a public housing development here.

Cambridge Heights is a four-phase conversion of a former high-rise public housing development into low-rise apartments and for-sale housing. The project is expected to cost more than $55 million. In 2000, the decision was made to tear down the 11-building complex because renovating the rundown buildings was too expensive, said Cheryl Lovell, executive director of the St. Louis Housing Authority, which owns the site.

Michael Kennedy is the president of Cochran; he's also president of St. Louisbased KAI Design & Build, a general contractor that specializes in public housing. Kennedy formed Cochran Redevelopment in partnership with Dallas-based Carlton Residential Properties, a large residential developer.

The redevelopment received a grant from HUD; $3 million from various local and federal grants; $18 million from the sale of low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs); and about $10 million from private equity sources.

Two-thirds of the project units will be affordable.

TDHCA Announces

LIHTC Allocations

AUSTIN, TEXAS The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

(TDHCA) has announced its 2008 LIHTC reservations. The reservations

total $42.5 million and will help to create an estimated 5,800 units of affordable rental housing. TDHCA estimates that approximately

1.3 million households across Texas are in need of affordable housing.

Public Housing Planned in El Paso

EL PASO, TEXAS Alamito Gardens, a 142-unit public housing project, will be built here. The Paisano Housing Redevelopment Corp., a nonprofit affiliate of the Housing Authority of El Paso, is the developer.

The units will be affordable to households earning no more than 60 percent of the AMI. The unit mix will include 42 one-, 72 two-, 22 three-, and six four-bedroom units. Proposed rents will range from $171 to $256 per month. The project received $10.9 million in mortgage revenue bond proceeds and approximately $850,000 in LIHTC equity. The El Paso area reportedly needs 30,000 affordable housing units.


Greenville Redevelopment Receives EPA Funds

GREENVILLE, S.C. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing $25,000 in technical assistance for a Brownfields Sustainability Pilot for the Greenville Workforce Housing Project. The EPA will work with the city to incorporate sustainable redevelopment into the planning, design, and implementation of its brownfields project.

The Green Avenue redevelopment project will incorporate gardens and other energy-efficient features. This includes redeveloping a former service station and adjacent supermarket into affordable housing on a combined site. Environmental issues include tank removals, demolition, and disposal of materials with asbestos and lead paint. Greenville received past EPA Brownfields Assessment Grants resulting in several successful projects including a baseball stadium, commercial space, and housing.


Community Sells in Denver for $31 Million

DENVER Oakwood Homes has sold Orchard Crossing, an affordable apartment community here, for $31 million. The buyer was Minnesota-based

Dominium. The 420-unit property was built in three phases, two of which were structured under the LIHTC program. The deal was completed as a transfer of general interest partnership interest. The closing took more than a year to complete, largely because it took HUD seven months to approve the deal.

National CORE Builds Affordable Units in SoCal

OCEANSIDE, CALIF. La Misi򬟖illage Apartments, an 80-unit affordable housing project, has opened here. The nonprofit National Community Renaissance (National CORE) is the developer.

The $26 million development sits on the site of the former La Misi򬟒estaurant. Rather than viewing the community as apartments for those with low incomes, the city sees the project as providing affordable housing for people who work in Oceanside but can't afford the coastal community's high rents. The city contributed $6 million to the project.