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Real Estate - Residential

Six Local Housing Projects Apply For Tax Credits

By Cece Nunn, posted Feb 5, 2018
Developers are seeking housing tax credits on two potential projects in Wilmington and four in Brunswick County, according to a preliminary application list by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.

The two proposals in Wilmington are Bennett Village Apartments, a 72-unit apartment complex that would be built at 719 Piner Road, and Riverside Landing, which would also have 72 units, at 2601 Castle Hayne Road.

The site plan for Bennett Village is on the schedule for the Wednesday afternoon meeting of the New Hanover County Technical Review Committee. Although Bennett Village and others in the area are on the state agency's preliminary application list, there's still a long way to go before developers find out whether they'll be awarded the Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC).

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency is in the process of completing market studies, said Stephanie Norris, a partner in Otter Creek Partners LLC, which has the Piner Road property under contract. Norris was also a partner in the development group that built Lockwood Village Apartments, an LIHTC project in Wilmington that was completed in 2015.

"I would venture to say that we probably have at least 100 folks on the waiting list" for the 60 units at Lockwood Village, located off South College Road, Norris said.

Few LIHTC projects have been added to the low supply of workforce and affordable housing in the rental market in Wilmington in recent years. In 2016, Woodridge Pointe was awarded the tax credits, an 80-unit apartment project that is currently under construction on Carolina Beach Road. Officials with the firm building Woodridge Pointe, Connelly Development LLC, hope construction will be complete by the end of 2018, said Bill Chamblin, the company's development coordinator.

It can take 15 to 18 months to build an apartment community, Norris said.

"You've got huge gaps, yet the need is constant and ever-growing in New Hanover County," she said.

Norris and other developers with potential projects in the region will be competing with more than 100 other firms that have proposals throughout the state. Even if they move on to the next stages of the tax credit awards process (full applications are due in May), they won't know if they've won them until August. An estimated 45 projects out of the 166 that have applied will likely be awarded the credits, said Chris Austin, director of rental investment for the N.C Housing Finance Agency.

"It's a tough process. It takes a lot of patience, but it's the best way to get the most bang for the buck in terms of getting affordable housing in the community," Norris said.

Another wrinkle: Potential neighbors aren't always welcoming. It can be frustrating, Norris said, when residents speak out against a project as if those who will be living there, who are subject to income and other eligibility requirements, are "the worst people on earth." In actuality, Norris said, "these are just working families and seniors that just need a nice place to live, that they can afford to live, that are contributing to the community."

Otter Creek Partners LLC also hopes to build a 72-unit project, Artesa Village Apartments, at 100 High Market St. in Sunset Beach. The applicant for the Riverside Landing project on Castle Hayne Road is Halcon Development LLC.

The following are the other area applicants on the NCHFA preliminary applications list for 2018:
  • COASTAL COMMONS: A 60-unit project at 4473 Beach Road SW in Ocean Isle Beach that would be for elderly residents. The applicant is Holly L. Smith.
  • CHRISTIAN'S LANDING: A 48-unit project listed under the "family" target population category, located at 2968 Frontage Road NW in Shallotte. The applicant is Southern Properties & Development LLC.
  • STONY CREEK APARTMENTS: A 64-unit project also listed in the family category, located at 4731 Patrick Newton Drive SE in Southport. The applicant is Connelly Development LLC.
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