Affordable Housing Community in Mississippi Gets Much-Needed $12M Makeover

Meridian, Miss.--The Meridian Housing Authority (MHA) recently held a well-attended ceremony to kick off the rehabilitation of Frank Berry Courts, a 113-unit affordable housing property in Meridian, Miss.

Meridian, Miss.–The Meridian Housing Authority (MHA) recently held a well-attended ceremony to kick off the rehabilitation of Frank Berry Courts, a 113-unit affordable housing property in Meridian, Miss. The 1930s-era development will emerge from the upgrade process as a modernized dwelling, courtesy of a public-private partnership involving MHA and The Michaels Development Company.

“Through the groundbreaking ceremony, we wanted to make sure that people are aware of the ongoing benefits of this project,” Laura Ochipinti Zaner, vice president of corporate communications and marketing for The Michaels Organization, the parent company of Michaels Development, tells MHN. “Not only does it bring much-needed affordable housing, it brings temporary jobs, and the event is a great way to showcase those jobs and to thank the community for their support.”

Located near Interstates 20 and 59, approximately 90 miles east of Jackson and 20 miles west of the Alabama border, Frank Berry Courts first opened its doors at 917 42nd Avenue in 1939. The years since have not been so kind to the apartments. Local officials recognized that the property, showing the wear and tear of the past decades, was in dire need of preservation and a transformation into a quality, attractive affordable housing community. With Michaels Development at the helm, Frank Berry Courts will undergo a renovation program that will include heating and cooling systems improvements, the addition energy of efficient windows, new roofs and vinyl siding. Additionally, the interiors of the residential units will be upgraded with new bathrooms and kitchens, as well as Energy Star appliances.

Federal tax dollars are very visibly at work at the Frank Berry Courts project site. MHA obtained the bulk of financing for the rehabilitation endeavor from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which presented the organization with an $8.5 million grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “With the groundbreaking event, people can have some sense of where the federal stimulus money s going and what it’s doing for the community,” Zaner says. The sale of tax-exempt bonds and Low Income Housing Tax Credits will provide the remaining $3.5 million for the project.

Upon completion of the restoration, Interstate Realty Management, also a part of The Michaels Organization group of companies, will serve as property manager.

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