Case Study

Atlantic/Pacific’s Faith-Based Housing in Florida and Maryland  

7 min read

An old saying claims faith can move mountains. It can also move the making of a lot of affordable housing, especially for seniors, by faith-based developers with the assistance of a few more worldly partners. 

Atlantic/Pacific Communities, for instance, has been involved in recent years in developing big senior properties affiliated with churches in Prince George’s County, MD, as well as a project connected to Catholic Health Services, which owns and operates many senior developments in South Florida and has recently helped develop one in Miramar, FL. 

Atlantic/Pacific, a unit of fourth generation developer Atlantic/Pacific Companies, with offices in Florida, Georgia, Texas and California, saw the 252-unit Woodlands at Reid Temple in Glenn Dale, MD open last year, as well as the groundbreaking for Casa Sant’ Angelo, the Florida senior project it worked on with Catholic Health Services. 

Kenneth Naylor, chief operating officer and managing director of Atlantic/Pacific Communities, lauds the Maryland church development, which has 195 one-bedroom units and 57 two-bedrooms, as a notable achievement. 

“Woodlands is a leading affordable housing community in Prince George’s County and throughout the state of Maryland and its execution was based on the strong partnerships that were formed to deliver it,” he says. 

These included the State of Maryland’s Community Development Administration and the Prince George’s County’s Department of Housing and Community Development, he says. 

“Our local partner, Urban Matters, has been vitally engaged every step of the way. Atlantic/Pacific is excited to be a long-term partner with Reid Temple in providing high-quality affordable housing in Prince George’s County,” he says. (The church has an economic development arm called Reid Community Development Corp. that also was involved.) 

Naylor was also on the list of notables for the groundbreaking at Casa Sant’Angelo in Miramar, a mid-rise that will have 113 units for seniors and is expected to be finished by October 2022. 

In Maryland, dignitaries at the ribbon cutting for Woodlands at Reid made frequent reference to the faith-based connection, including the fact that the apartments are within walking distance of the church, which will also offer shuttle bus services to the seniors. 

A Place of Luxury and Heaven 
Reid Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church Pastor Rev. Mark Whitlock calls the Woodlands “a state-of-the-art senior living development,” and refers to it as “a place of luxury and heaven.” 

He says, “It was always the intention that the residents would have immediate access to the church,” which was founded in 1900 and has more than 3,000 members. 

Planning for the development started at the church during the tenure of the church’s former pastor, Rev. Dr. Lee T. Washington.  

“What started as a small seed grew into this beautiful community. Two years ago, we decided we would invest in building a community that is safe, flexible and comfortable for our seniors. And it happened,” says Rev. Washington. 

Ken Holt, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, calls Woodlands “a fabulous project created by Reid Temple Church and Atlantic/Pacific Communities to provide senior housing.”  

Secretary Holt says the state was “proud to have provided $55 million in financing. It creates jobs, wonderful housing for our seniors and stimulates the economy in this county and across the state.” 

PNC Real Estate provided another $27 million in financing, through a bridge loan of $10.8 million and $16.9 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity. 

Local partner Urban Matters says the project “is being financed by the State of Maryland – Community Development Authority through issuing the debt, Rural Housing Works funds and State HOME funds, Prince George’s County Government providing HOME funds and a Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), and PNC Bank as purchaser of the tax credit equity and through a bridge loan and by bonds issued and backed by the State of Maryland via a risk share initiative.” 

PNC described the property as “two mid-rise residential buildings, community space, common amenities, a clubhouse and fitness facilities. It’s designed for adults aged 62 or older, including empty nesters and church members.” 

A Complex Financing 
And it notes that while this was its first LIHTC deal with Atlantic/Pacific, the developer had done much business with the bank, so “they turned to PNC Real Estate to structure a complex financing that included many different stakeholders from local entities to the state of Maryland.” 

Naylor agrees, saying, “PNC has extensive experience in LIHTC financing. That, along with our long history with PNC, convinced us that they were uniquely qualified to complete the complex financing of Woodlands at Reid Temple.” Which he calls a “much-needed affordable seniors housing community.” 

A virtual tour of the well-appointed project reveals it is indeed surrounded by woodlands. The entrance area has a large atrium with chandeliers, and the project includes a mailroom, a medical exam room, a hydrotherapy room, a fitness room and a salon/barber. 

Maryland State Sen. Joanne Benson notes, “Two hundred of our senior citizens will be living with one- or two-bedrooms, full kitchens, full baths and an environment that is quiet and safe.” The units also have washer/dryer units. 

Construction on this Energy Star facility started in 2019 and took 20 months, with the contractor being Whiting-Turner. 

The design was carefully thought out, according to architect Michael Wiencek of Wiencek and Associates.  

“We try to design projects that are transformative. We really believe we have done that with this project, brought dignity and vibrance to not only the residents who are going to live here but to the community at large.” 

The design includes a craftsman style and a desire to realize a “walk in the woods” feeling. 

Responsive to Emotions 
Wiencek and Associates says it was inspired to design a craftsman-style new affordable, independent, senior community that would respond to the emotional feel of the site. 

Two curvilinear residential buildings “define the structure of the site, each set at a different elevation with a full story of height between them,” according to Wiencek. 

“An axial joining corridor focused on a central community space pavilion defines the center of the site and allows for the connection of the two residential wings with gentle sloping corridors. The central turret of the one-story community hub is visually linked to the tapered taller towers, which anchor the ends of the two residential wings.  

“The walkways surrounding the buildings also respond to the natural grades and surrounding woods leading to the fully forested lower part of the site for residents to enjoy the natural setting with views back toward the multifaceted building. Nature and the site become a major amenity, as does the layering of the building materials within the flanking woodland,” he says. 

The two residential buildings “contain 252 units plus unique amenity spaces in the tapered towers offering floor-to-ceiling windows. The single-story community center building provides management offices and various amenity spaces for residents, including lounges, fireplaces, screen porches, a communal dining area and exercise facilities all with focused views of the woods.” 

At the Miramar project in Florida it is working on with Catholic Relief Services, Atlantic/Pacific has four funders: Broward County, First Housing Development Corp., Florida Housing Finance Corp. and Wells Fargo. 

Casa Sant’Angelo will be for seniors earning 80 percent or less of the Area Median Income. LIHTC equity is being provided by the Florida Housing Finance Corp., with Wells Fargo as the equity investor and construction lender, and First Housing Development Corp. as construction/permanent lender. Broward County is providing  $125,000. The equity and debt financing totals over $28 million in tax credit equity, $21.6 million in construction debt, and $3.635 million in permanent debt, according to the partners. 

The mid-rise building offers 113 one- and two-bedroom units with a scenic courtyard and fountain view. In addition, the property includes a community room, library, computer room and dedicated spaces for gathering.  

The property will offer residences for seniors who earn between 30 and 80 percent of AMI. Rental rates are anticipated to range from $442 to $1,278.  

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.