Affordable Apartment Plan Advances With City's Cash Infusion

By Cece Nunn, posted Nov 17, 2021
Starway Village, a 278-unit apartment complex, is planned at 2346 Carolina Beach Road.
An infusion of $3.5 million in gap financing from the city of Wilmington will help developers build affordable housing on Carolina Beach Road.

The Wilmington City Council approved the spending at its meeting Tuesday night, with the money coming from the $26 million in American Rescue Plan funds allocated to the city. New Hanover County in October approved using nearly $2 million of its ARP funds for the gap financing need.

The 278-unit apartment complex planned for 2346 Carolina Beach Road, site of the Starway Flea Market, is expected to be affordable to households that make 60% of the area median income.

"The one- to three-bedroom apartments will serve households with incomes ranging $27,346 to $47,550. Rent is expected to range from $754 to $999 a month," according to a city news release. "The apartments are anticipated to be fully rented within six months."

The developers of the project, called "Starway Village" on site plans, are Bradley Development and Kelley Development Co.

"We’re humbled to be part of the broader affordable housing solution in Wilmington," said Ted Heilbron of Kelley Development on Wednesday. "Now the responsibility's on our shoulders to deliver, and we’re really excited about the opportunity to do exactly that."

The developers said in their county proposal that Starway Village’s gap funding needs were primarily caused by two items – the cost of purchasing the real estate (expected to be $4.25 million for about 15 acres) and the cost of expanding Maryland Avenue through the project to Carolina Beach Road.

Heilbron said the developers anticipate breaking ground on Starway Village by late summer of next year. Construction could be complete by 2024.

The developers have applied to the N.C. Housing Finance Agency for a 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) award and a tax-free bond allocation.

Suzanne Rogers, community development and housing planner for the city of Wilmington, said on Wednesday that Starway Village is a step in the right direction when it comes to addressing the city's lack of workforce and affordable housing.

She said, "The types of projects are done all over the state, and so it’s a well-proven tool to develop quality affordable housing in a public-private partnership."
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