Affordable Across America: South

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50 Projects for 50 Years

PROJECT: Crosstown Concourse | Memphis, TN
Opened in 2017
DEVELOPER: Crosstown Arts; Memphis, TN
FAVORITE OF: Scott Beyer, Roving Columnist, Tax Credit Advisor
DESCRIPTION: Crosstown Concourse is a 14-story former Sears distribution center that the company had abandoned in 1993, and that sat empty for two decades. The property hosts 269 residential units, 20 percent of which are reserved for renters earning below 80 percent of area median income. Helped in part by a $100 million allocation of Historic and New Markets Tax Credits, the massive center was rehabbed as a 1.2 million square-foot live-work-play center that mixes a variety of uses, functioning almost as a small town within a building. Crosstown has helped to revitalize Memphis’ core.

Whether you call it a ‘vertical urban village’ or a ‘city within a city’, Crosstown Concourse is spectacular, turning a former mega-warehouse into a mixed-use skyscraper that has housing, offices, retail, an art museum, a school and more.” —SCOTT BEYER

PROJECT: Belmont Heights | Tampa, FL
Opened in 2002
DEVELOPER: The Michaels Organization; Camden, NJ
FAVORITE OF: Milton Pratt, Executive Vice President, The Michaels Organization
DESCRIPTION: Expansion of the Belmont Heights property, in northside Tampa, was financed in part by a HUD Hope VI grant. The expansion added 358 units. All three project phases included both tax credit-financed and public housing units in addition to market-rate units. The third phase added “170 qualified-income tax credit homes” in addition to over 90 new public units. “Individual apartments feature built-in computer desks, gas-fired hot water heaters and electric appliances,” according to CBG; the property also has a pool and community room onsite.

Belmont was a transformational redevelopment almost 20 years ago and the impact in the community has been a stabilizing force. Working in partnership with the Tampa Housing Authority has been the driver that led to the preservation of this community for the next 15 years.” —MILTON PRATT

PROJECT: Weatherstone Park | New Bern, NC
Opened in 2000
DEVELOPER: Mosaic Development Group; Charlotte, NC
FAVORITE OF: Greg Mayo, Vice President, Acquisitions & Risk Management, CAHEC
DESCRIPTION: This 44-unit complex in the center of North Carolina’s coast provides affordable housing for residents 55 and older, and includes both one- and two-bedroom units. The development was built by Mosaic Development Group, a 50-year-old firm focused on building affordable housing in North Carolina, and overseen by Community Management Corporation (CMC). According to CMC’s application forms, 26 units are reserved for renters at or below 50 percent area median income; the remaining units are eligible at 60 percent AMI.

Weatherstone Park was a great example of how collaboration and commitment expedited the allocation and building of replacement affordable housing, which was desperately needed following Hurricane Floyd’s devastating flooding. CAHEC is proud of the impact the project has had in New Bern.”  —GREG MAYO

PROJECT: Ponce City Market | Atlanta, GA
Opened in 2014
DEVELOPER: Jamestown Properties; Atlanta, GA
FAVORITE OF: Jessica Hoefer, Editor, Tax Credit Advisor
DESCRIPTION: The Ponce City Market project renovated a large Sears Roebuck distribution facility in Atlanta, and today houses a variety of uses, including class-A office space, dining and various stores along Atlanta’s bustling BeltLine park. The project has a large housing component as well. Rehab of the 2 million square-foot structure was aided by a $50 million Historic Tax Credit allocation. Last year, Jamestown Properties announced its intent to build an expansion of the property, adding 160 units, ten percent of which would be reserved for renters at 60 percent area median income.

Ponce City Market has been a key anchor in the revitalization of eastside Atlanta. The city built the well-used BeltLine trail to connect different neighborhoods in the area and allowed lots of new housing around the trail. It all climaxes up to the market – a mixed-use former mega warehouse that features flats, offices, shopping, local cuisine and a diverse mix of Atlantans.”  —JESSICA HOEFER

PROJECT: City Lights II, Station 464 | Old Fourth Ward, Atlanta, GA
Completed Fall 2019
DEVELOPER: Wingate Companies; Newton, MA
FAVORITE OF: Rod Teachey, Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Wingate Companies
DESCRIPTION: Station 464, a part of a larger redevelopment project called City Lights II, is Wingate’s second phase of its multi-phased master redevelopment plan for over 730 affordable apartment homes located within a half mile radius. These homes have served low- and very low-income residents through the support of Section 8 HAP contracts for more than 40 years.

Station 464 is home to 96 families, with most at or below 30 percent area median income, and provides them with newly constructed, modern, amenity-filled, secure, energy-efficient and spacious apartment homes.

Station 464 (City Lights II) is a unique and inspirational development. It has had a vast transformational impact on the Boulevard corridor in the historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta. This development characterizes and defines Wingate’s “It’s All About Home” commitment to provide quality affordable housing options as it moves forward with its revitalization initiative.” —ROD TEACHEY

PROJECT: Midtown Villages | Gainesville, GA
Completed 2021
DEVELOPER: Collaborative Housing Solutions Inc.; Decatur, GA
FAVORITE OF: Richelle Patton, President, Collaborative Housing Solutions Inc.
DESCRIPTION: Midtown Villages (formerly known as Melrose Homes Redevelopment), a redevelopment project done in partnership with the Gainesville Housing Authority, redeveloped 200 former public housing units within six properties. The rehab was funded using four percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bonds and subordinate financing. All 200 units were converted to Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance through the Department of Housing & Urban Development Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD). It was the first development in Georgia to use National Housing Trust Funds with LIHTCs.

The $44.5 million redevelopment provides residents with significant physical upgrades, including central air conditioning and a new community building that serves as the hub for a myriad of on-site services provided by 35 community service agencies to empower residents towards greater self-sufficiency and quality of life. The development also has created a multi-faceted arts initiative aimed to increase arts education and appreciation among its residents.

Midtown Villages is my favorite community that I have developed not only because we used an innovative, but replicable, financing structure, but also because of its lasting impact on our residents’ lives by transforming their physical environment and offering comprehensive resident services to improve their social and economic quality of life. It is communities like this that make all the challenging work involved with affordable housing development worthwhile.”  —RICHELLE PATTON

PROJECT: Metro 510 | Downtown Tampa, FL
Opened November 2011
FAVORITE OF: Debra  Koehler, Founder, Sage Partners
DEVELOPER: Sage Partners; Tampa, FL
DESCRIPTION: Metro 510 combined the rehabilitation of the historic St. Paul A.M.E. Church with the new construction of 120 affordable housing apartment homes, the first in Tampa’s urban core to serve families earning between 35 and 60 percent of area median income. The development features four floors of residential above two floors of parking, an outdoor spray ground, community garden, movie theatre area and the Walk of Legends, an outdoor museum devoted to the history of the church. The community is conveniently located adjacent to the Marion Street Transit Station.

It was a once in lifetime opportunity to preserve a historic church, memorialize its history and incorporate 120 new affordable apartment homes to serve the essential service workers in downtown Tampa.” —DEBRA KOEHLER

PROJECT: The Terraces on Tulane | New Orleans, LA
Opened January 2020
DEVELOPER: Volunteers of America National Services; Alexandria, VA
FAVORITE OF: Robin Keller, Vice President, Workforce Housing Development at Volunteers of America
DESCRIPTION: The Terraces on Tulane is a senior community of one-bedroom apartments near the Historic French Quarter in New Orleans. It was developed to replace a senior facility in East New Orleans that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers of America received Gulf Opportunity Zone Low Income Housing Tax Credits to develop the project, which was a collaboration among many agencies, including Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Housing & Urban Development, the City of New Orleans, J.P Morgan Chase, The National Affordable Housing Trust and a grant from The Major League Baseball Players Trust. The community offers a fitness center, hair salon, business center and social activities.

Building this housing was a true labor of love. Everyone worked hard to be able to rebuild housing for our seniors who had lost practically everything. The most wonderful part of doing this work was being there the day our residents got to come home after being displaced for almost five years. The joy of seeing each other again and walking into their new homes was one of the best experiences of my life.” —ROBIN KELLER

PROJECT: Preserve at Highland Ridge | Nashville, TN
Opened in 2021
DEVELOPER: Dominium; Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis, Phoenix
FAVORITE OF: Paul Sween, Senior Managing Partner, Dominium
DESCRIPTION: Built using Dominium’s standard unit designs, the Preserve at Highland Ridge is a 261-unit affordable multifamily community in Nashville. It includes one-, two- and three-bedroom affordable homes for those earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income. The property is centered around a clubhouse and amenity area, which includes a pool, gazebo and multiple playgrounds, and has direct views of downtown Nashville.

Creating and implementing the standard unit designs was one of Dominium’s crowning achievements. As we’ve oriented our portfolio around new construction, the standard unit designs have ensured construction efficiencies and comfortable, quality homes for our residents. They help us continue to bring affordable housing to communities that need it across the country.” —PAUL SWEEN

PROJECT: Midway School Apartments | Midway, KY
Opened in 1998
DEVELOPER: AU Associates; Lexington, KY
FAVORITE OF: Holly Weidemann, Principal, AU Associates
DESCRIPTION: In its citation for a 2000 Residential Architect Design Award, Midway School Apartments was described in terms of its unusual duality: “In 1926, when the Midway School’s first students were gazing wistfully out the windows, who knew they might live there someday as senior citizens?” It noted the school was converted into 24 handicap-accessible senior apartments, but the classroom footprints and oversize window openings were preserved. Within each room, the architects carved out a kitchen, living room, bath and bedroom; in some cases, they combined three classrooms into two double-bedroom units. The corridor walls were left intact, according to the award citation.

Midway School Apartments was my first project after returning to Kentucky and starting my own business. AU Associates, which just celebrated its 32nd year in business, initially included Bob Kuehne, another beloved developer within our community.” —HOLLY WEIDEMANN

PROJECT: Commonwealth Village | Jackson, MS  (as part of the company’s Mississippi Portfolio)
Opened in 2009
DEVELOPER: The Wishcamper Companies; Portland, ME
FAVORITE OF: Joe Wishcamper, Principal, The Wishcamper Companies
DESCRIPTION: The Mississippi Portfolio (including Lincoln Gardens Apartments, Jackson; Madonna Manor, Jackson; Northwood, Jackson; Overlook Apartments, Hattiesburg; The Village Apartments, Jackson; Spring Gardens in Holly Springs; Skyview Apartments, Batesville) is nine Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties developed after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, now providing Section 8 subsidies to 1,200 families with very-low income and senior residents.

Having been in affordable housing for 52 years, I have many favorite projects. The most impactful may be our portfolio in Mississippi. A Mississippi-based nonprofit company, which my family founded, provides an innovative set of resident services to all these properties. If I had to pick a “favorite” it would be Commonwealth Village, a 200-unit family property completed in 2009, because it was the most challenging and ultimately the most transformative of the nine-property portfolio.” —JOE WISHCAMPER

PROJECT: Curb Victory Hall | Nashville, TN
Opened in 2020
DEVELOPER: Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency and Giarratana LLC; Nashville, TN
FAVORITE OF: Ralph Perrey, Executive Director, Tennessee Housing Development Agency
DESCRIPTION: Curb Victory Hall is a new 39-unit apartment complex for veterans experiencing homelessness. THDA supported this development with tax credits and a grant from our Housing Trust Fund. Music industry executive Mike Curb donated another $500,000 (hence the name). Operation Stand Down, an organization supporting former military members, is a key partner in the development.

Thirteen percent of U.S. adults who are homeless have served in the military—a substantial number, given that veterans represent just seven percent of the overall population. Building units to decrease veteran homelessness will push the needle forward to eliminating the problem.” —RALPH M. PERREY

PROJECT: Envision Cayce | Nashville, TN
Ongoing multi-phase project
DEVELOPER: Metropolitan Housing Development Agency; Nashville, TN
FAVORITE OF: Darryl Hicks, Staff Writer, Tax Credit Advisor
DESCRIPTION: A neighborhood community more than a project, Envision Cayce is an enormous effort to replace 716 units of old public housing with more than 2,000 units of new housing, as well as commercial and community space in a multi-phased effort that is starting to take shape in the eastern part of the city. One of its phases, a low-rise garden apartment project called Kirkpatrick Park Apartments, shows some of developer Nashville Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency’s key goals for Envision Cayce, a project, which will cost multiple hundreds of millions of dollars. The project looks to “decentralize” poverty with its mixed-income variety of affordable, workhouse and market-rate units mixed in side by side with the Cayce Place renters.

This is a bold effort to fully integrate residents of a typical inner-city public housing tower into a new community of housing, commercial and educational developments. The transformation of drab Cayce Place into Envision Cayce is truly a visionary plan.” —DARRYL HICKS

Mark Fogarty has covered housing and mortgages for more than 30 years. A former editor at National Mortgage News, he has written extensively about tax credits.
Pamela Martineau is a freelance writer based in Portland, ME. She writes primarily about housing, local government, technology and education.