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Jan. 23, 2013

Portland Affordable Housing Property Trades for $8M

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Portland, Ore.—Vitus Group has agreed to buy St. Johns Woods, an affordable apartment complex in Portland. The company will pay the seller, Home Forward, $8.25 million for the property.

St. Johns Woods is a 124-unit property in North Portland near Pier Park, offering one-, two-, and three-bedroom units to low-income households. Tenants must earn 50 percent or less of area median income to qualify for Section 8 rent assistance funding from HUD. The subsidy supplements tenant rents, which are fixed at 30 percent of household income.

Home Forward is the new name for the Housing Authority of Portland, which is the state’s largest provider of affordable housing, with over 6,500 units in Multnomah County. Vitus Group is a Seattle-based affordable housing specialist with properties in 14 states.

As part of the deal, the buyer will renovate the property, which dates from the early 1970s and which Home Forward bought in 1998. Among other things, the new owners will make needed building system improvements, increase the structure’s energy efficiency, and modernize common areas and unit interiors.

According to Home Forward’s Board of Commissioners chair Harriet Cormack, the sale is in the best interests of the long-term health of the property, since her agency has “been challenged to meet all of the property’s capital needs, given our financing.” The agency hadn’t initially planned to sell the property, but Vitus Group’s unsolicited offer evidently persuaded the board.

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