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Six Cleveland projects win federal tax credits for affordable housing

May 17, 2018 GMT

Six Cleveland projects win federal tax credits for affordable housing

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Six developments will bring 333 new or renovated homes to Cleveland, aided by tax credits aimed at affordable housing.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency announced more than $280 million worth of federal tax credits awarded to projects spanning the state. The credits will offset a large share of the costs of building and rehabbing low-cost apartments and rental houses for families, seniors and tenants with disabilities.

Property owners claim the credits over a decade. In exchange, they’re subject to rent caps and income restrictions on tenants for up to 30 years.

Sixty of the houses eventually could become owner-occupied homes through local programs designed to help renters transition into home ownership. Two projects will replace or revive tired housing.

Here are some details about the winners, based on documents submitted to OHFA:

Circle North Homes: The nonprofit Famicos Foundation expects to develop 30 single-family homes on vacant lots in the Glenville neighborhood, just north of University Circle. The three-bedroom houses, including four ranches, will rent for $570 to $675 a month. They’ll be part of a lease-purchase program that offers tenants an eventual opportunity to become homeowners. The $7.6 million project won a tax credit of just under $5.9 million, or $599,999 per year.

Kenmore Commons: Cleveland-based developer Levin Group, Inc., plans to renovate the Kenmore Gardens and Kenmore Village townhouse-style apartments in the city’s Hough neighborhood as a single project, with a new community leasing center and a playground. Tenants will continue to rely on the federal housing choice voucher program - formerly known as Section 8 - to cover much of their rent. The $14.4 million project won $8.75 million in credits.

La Villa Hispana MetroHealth District Affordable Housing Initiative: This $6.5 million development will bring 30 new, single-family homes to vacant lots in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. CHN Housing Partners will develop the three-bedroom houses as part of the nonprofit’s long-running lease-purchase program, which puts tenants on a 15-year path to ownership. The houses will rent for $675 a month, though tenants with disabilities would be eligible for a federal rental subsidy to offset part of that cost. The project won $5.7 million in credits.

Legacy at Saint Luke’s: CHN Housing Partners will build 22 townhouses and five apartments just north of the renovated former St. Luke’s Medical Center on the East Side. The homes will rent for $360 to $670 a month, with subsidized units for disabled tenants. Affordable housing is only one part of the broader development plan for the St. Luke’s area, where community advocates hope to foster a mixed-income community with additional for-sale homes. So far, though, the area has struggled to attract traditional homebuilders. The $6.3 million CHN project won close to $4.9 million in credits.

St. Joseph’s Commons: PIRHL, a Cleveland-based developer, will develop a 68-unit apartment building to replace an outdated Ohio City complex that houses chronically homeless residents, many of them women. The new building, at 2554 W. 25th St., will make way for demolition of the existing Front Steps apartments, a former Travelodge motel that sits at the top of a sliding hillside at Irishtown Bend, less than a mile away. That hillside is slated to become a park. The $12.1 million new building, known as permanent supportive housing, won $10 million in credits.

Village Green II: The NRP Group, another Northeast Ohio developer, plans to build 76 affordable apartments for families at 18231 Euclid Ave., on Cleveland’s East Side. Next to Duggan Park and the Village Green shopping center, the units will rent for $323 to $870 a month, though disabled tenants will pay less. The $13.4 million project won $12 million in credits.

Seventy-three applicants sought more than $600 million in credits, or $60 million per year, from OHFA. The agency makes competitive awards once a year. It’s not unusual for projects to apply multiple times before securing an award.

This year, five Cuyahoga County applicants missed out. Those projects included proposals for new and rehabilitated housing in Cleveland, East Cleveland, Maple Heights and Rocky River. Developers seeking funding for a handful of projects in Lake, Summit and Stark counties also will have to decide whether to reapply.