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Close-in project beats two other proposals to win tax credit financing

Hawkins Pointe, a 43-unit three-story senior housing building on Sixth Avenue West at North Oak Street, beat two other affordable housing projects to win tax credit financing support from the state.

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency announced the winners of the federal tax credits and other financing it awarded to fund $996.9 million in affordable apartments in 29 North Carolina counties. The work is expected to support more than 25,600 jobs and generate $75.5 million in state and local tax revenue, the agency said.

Other projects vying for tax credit financing were the Housing Assistance Corp., for the proposed Apple Ridge development of 60 apartments and 20 single-family homes on Sugarloaf Road, and White Pine Villas, a 78-unit senior housing development at 2620 Chimney Rock Road.

"It's absolutely in the works," said Garrett LeDonne, a vice president at Woda Cooper Companies Inc., a large developer of tax-credit financed affordable housing based in Columbus, Ohio. "I would expect to break ground next summer is what we're talking."

Woda Cooper received approval for a $645,000 loan through the rental production program, a state-federal program that finances affordable housing. Hawkins Pointe was the only one of the local three tax credit applications that was close in. It's across the street from the Pardee UNC Health hospital and cancer center and the YMCA and near restaurants and shopping.

"We picked a strong site in close proximity to the downtown, good proximity to amenities senior residents need and we received excellent support from the City Council," LeDonne said. The company is projecting a construction time frame of 14-15 months, he said.

The North Carolina Federal Tax Reform Allocation Committee approved tax credits and tax-exempt bonds for 51 projects in September based on recommendations from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. Awards were announced last week.

“Housing tax credits provide vital infrastructure for communities, and these apartment homes will help address the growing shortage of affordable rental housing for working families and seniors in North Carolina,” said Scott Farmer, executive director of the Housing Finance Agency.

The funding will produce 4,429 privately owned and managed affordable apartments, including 2,518 apartments for families and 1,911 for seniors, the agency said. At least 440 of the apartments will be targeted for people with disabilities. The new awards will bring the number of Housing Credit apartments in the state to more than 120,800.

The highly competitive program, which received 81 full applications this year, uses a ranking system, independent market studies of each property and site visits by agency staff to evaluate applications. Each property is rated for architectural design, rent affordability, financial stability, capability of the development team and criteria to ensure statewide distribution of the financing.

A self-supporting public agency, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency has financed 318,830 affordable homes and apartments statewide since its creation in 1973.