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Nonprofit developer plans more apartments

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By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — In its 35 years, Affordable Housing Management in Greensboro has developed 1,300 units with total investment of $45 million.

Now, using tax credits and loans, the nonprofit developer is getting ready to add 64 new apartment units in northeast Greensboro, and is considering two to three more developments over the next year or two that could total 150 to 220 units, says Dave Levy, executive director.

Formed in 1970 by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, with seed funding from local banks and corporations, the nonprofit initially was known as the Greater Greensboro Housing Foundation and served as a development consultant and land bank.

In that role, the group found land, bought or optioned it, found nonprofit sponsors to develop affordable rental housing on it, secured development financing, and handled construction management until the housing was built.

Financing initially consisted of so-called “Section 8” subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But in the early 1980s, with federal funds for rental housing drying up, the nonprofit turned increasingly to property management, says Levy, who joined the group in 1993.

The group also continued to assemble projects for development by other nonprofit sponsors, and even served as managing general partner for a limited partnership that developed Laurence Manor, a 32-apartment development in southwest Greensboro that it still manages.

Then, in the late 1980s, the federal government launched a new program in which the Internal Revenue Service made tax credits available on a competitive basis for the development of low-income housing.

Developers securing the credits would sell them to investors, which typically formed syndicates, in return for the capital to develop the housing.

In developing its housing over the year, Affordable Housing Management also has used funds from a separate federal program that allocates money through HUD to municipalities and states.

All told, the nonprofit manages 16 properties with 602 units, roughly 10 percent of which are owned by other entities.

And it expects in November to sign a contract for construction of 64 new apartment units at Windhill Court, a $5.5 million development that will be the second phase of the 60-unit Windhill development it built on McKnight Mill Road in 2000 and 2001.

For Windhill Court, the nonprofit developer secured $3.766 million in federal and state tax credits through the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, and $1.7 million in loans from the City of Greensboro and the Greensboro Housing Authority.

Those include a zero-interest loan from the city through a federal program, and a separate loan from the housing authority using federal HOPE VI funds it has received to replace older public housing.

Construction of Windhill Court should begin late this year, with some units ready for occupancy as early as next fall, Levy says.

With a staff of 28 people, including eight in its corporate office and the rest in property offices that manage its housing sites, Affordable Housing Management has a corporate budget of $500,000.

“Our 35 years of operation show that we’re dependable and we’re solid,” Levy says. “We hope to continue to be one of the main providers of affordable rentals in this area, and we intend to be.”

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