December 7, 2015
by Edward D. Murphy
A new Portland apartment complex with 39 units and a plan in Falmouth to rehabilitate 20 apartments and create 19 new units for the elderly are among the housing projects that will get federal tax credits to help with financing, the Maine State Housing Authority has announced.
The agency, also known as MaineHousing, said the two projects are among five that will share nearly $3 million in low-income housing tax credits. Two of the other projects are in southern Maine – in Bath and Sanford – and the fifth is a project for homeless veterans to be built near the Togus VA Medical Center.
MaineHousing said the $2.9 million in tax credits will generate about $26 million in private investment for the housing projects.
The project in Portland will create 12 efficiency apartments, 23 one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units on Carleton Street in the West End, said Seth Parker, director of real estate development for Avesta Housing, a nonprofit agency that develops housing in Maine.
Parker said rents, which are based on income, will range from $544 for the efficiencies to $1,041 for the larger units.
The project will cost about $4.6 million.
Blackstone Apartments in Falmouth is already owned by Avesta but will be sold to a partnership with investors to generate the tax credits. The existing apartments will be renovated and 19 units will be added.
The Falmouth project will cost nearly $3.3 million.
The financing comes mostly from the use of the tax credits, which are sold to investors to generate equity. About 75 percent of the cost of the projects is covered by the money generated by the credits, said Dana Totman, president of Avesta, and the rest of the financing comes from grants, subsidies and loans.
“We are thrilled with the two awards,” Totman said Friday, adding that the Portland apartments are particularly important, “There’s a demand (for housing) from nearly every cohort in the city, but this is a particularly important sign of support for families.”
Totman said the Portland project is near major employers, such as Maine Medical Center. The Falmouth project, he said, is near the town library and not far from Route 1, where most of Falmouth’s shops are located.
Tax credits were also awarded to St. Ignatius Apartments in Sanford. The credits will help support a $7.9 million project by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland to rehabilitate a three-story building and build another structure, creating 66 elderly housing units.
Credits were also awarded to the Huse School Apartments project in Bath, where the Szanton Co. will renovate a former school building into 30 family apartments and also build a 28-unit addition. Most of the units will be priced to be affordable to families earning 50 percent to 60 percent of the area’s median income. Construction will cost an estimated $7.3 million.
The final project to get housing credits is the Cabin in the Woods project in Chelsea, a 21-unit program for homeless veterans near the Togus VA Medical Center. It will be developed by the Volunteers of America/Northern New England and cost an estimated $3.2 million.