April 26, 2010
NDC is no stranger to Lancaster, however. “This is a renewed relationship, based on the results of earlier contracts with Lancaster County, including several loans to Lancaster small businesses from our Grow America Fund (GAF) and the Lancaster Arts Hotel New Markets Tax Credit project,” explains NDC Field Director Michelle Mooney. Mooney will be working directly with Ray D’Agostino, LHOP Executive Director; Phyllis E. Stellfox, LHOP Project Development Manager; and Matthew T. Sternberg, Executive Director,Lancaster County Housing & Redevelopment Authorities (LCHRA).
“We are very excited to have the resources and experience of Michelle and all of NDC available to Lancaster County, our affordable housing development and preservation efforts, as well as supporting community redevelopment in our neighborhoods,” says Ed Kaminski, Director of Acquisitions and New Business for Lancaster’s Housing Development Corporation. “Michelle is already expanding our thinking beyond our standard array of financing tools. We know that in addition to determination, we need to creatively use all available tools to be successful in today’s environment.”
The first development project to benefit from NDC’s technical assistance under this contract is the Historic East Side Suites, an important project in the City’s downtown redevelopment strategy. Financing this $9.2 million mixed-use development to be built on East King Street posed a particular challenge, because costs for renovating the long-neglected structure exceeded the market-rate financing it could support. Multiple sources of funding were identified by LCHRA and the developer: Federal New Markets Tax Credits (from NDC’s HEDC New Markets allocation), Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, a loan from the City of Lancaster, a “Building PA” loan from the state and an equity investment from the developer. ” Solutions using complex financing of this kind, with diverse sources, each with its own set of underwriting requirements and standards, is what NDC specializes in”, said Mooney, “and this kind of community redevelopment is what our New Markets Tax Credit program was designed for.”
Some other initiatives under LHOP’s current contract with NDC include:
Development Assistance/Capacity Building: NDC staff have met with numerous members of the community and a number of area for-profit and non-profit affordable housing and mixed-use developers, to identify funding strategies for proposed projects.
Policy Development: NDC has been working with LHOP and LCHRA to develop policy that will aid those organizations in achieving local goals and assessing funding requests.
Housing Solutions: Mooney is also working with the local community to develop a strategy to preserve 506 units of affordable housing, in thirteen different developments with six different owners, all previously financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and all facing the end of their affordable compliance period. They also face financing challenges because of their relatively small size, disparate location and disparate ownership, but NDC is exploring several options with LCHRA and bond counsel that would enable these multiple properties to be treated as a single preservation project using multi-family bonds and 4% LIHTC.