Funding Will Preserve Housing for Low-Income Families
Pinellas County Housing Authority announced on November 27, 2013 that it has closed on $24 million in funding for the preservation and renovation of the French Villas public housing apartments in unincorporated Pinellas County. Thanks to a competitive low-income housing tax credit allocation secured by PCHA’s development partner, Norstar Development USA, LP, from Florida Housing Finance Corporation, and the sale of those tax credits to Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc. for more than $16 million and construction and permanent financing from Raymond James Bank in excess of $13,000,000, all 184 units at French Villas will undergo a complete gut rehab, with new infrastructure and community facilities planned as well. Pinellas County has also pledged $300,000 in HOME funds to the project.
“We’re excited that this public-private partnership will enable us to move forward with our strategy of sustainable affordable housing by allowing this property to be offered to low-income families for many years to come” said Joseph Triolo, Chairman of PCHA’s Board of Commissioners. “We are looking forward to delivering a transformed development to the Housing Authority and the Pinellas County residents it serves,” added Rick Higgins, President of Norstar Development. “It took two years and a lot of hard work to get from the tax credit application to commencement of construction and we could not have done it without our development, financial, and governmental partners.”
French Villas, located at 6835 54th Avenue North, was constructed in phases from 1970 to 1973. Over the years, the property has suffered from infrastructure failure and environmental issues, and the unit interiors are original and in poor condition. PCHA and Norstar applied for Tax Credits in the Preservation set-aside from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation in 2011 to preserve French Villas. In March of this year, the tax credits were approved, and Raymond James agreed to provide the tax credit equity. Resident relocation is underway and renovations are scheduled to begin in December.
Through HUD’s new Rental Assistance Demonstration program, the Landings at Cross Bayou will be covered by a project-based rental assistance agreement which will enable the development to provide housing to individuals and families with incomes at or below 60% of the median income for the area. The program allows Housing Authorities to utilize non-HUD funding sources needed for capital renovations. Occupancy requirements for residency in the renovated property will include a work or job-training component for non-elderly and non-disabled households. The property will be subject to a HUD Use Agreement that will ensure long-term affordability.