Fresno, Calif.–The strained affordable housing market in Fresno, Calif., gets a little bit of help as the doors of Summer Hill Place officially open to residents. AMCAL Multi-Housing Inc., in partnership with the Foundation for Affordable Housing, developed the 50-unit family workforce project.
Offering 28 two-bedroom and 22 three-bedroom units, the R.L. Davidson-designed Summer Hill Place accommodates families with household incomes that are between 30 percent and 60 percent of the Area Median Income. All residences have been claimed at the new apartment community, which comes as no surprise. As AMCAL notes, over 40 percent of Fresno’s residents live below the federal poverty line, according to a study by the Brookings Institution. And that study was based on 2000 Census numbers.
AMCAL and partner relied on just over $7.3 million in 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to help finance the approximately $8.7 million development of Summer Hill, and secured construction and permanent loans from Boston Capital and the City of Fresno Redevelopment Agency. “In California, the demand for workforce housing is tremendous,” Arjun Nagarkatti, executive vice president, finance with AMCAL, tells MHN. “The challenge is putting together the financing.”
But the challenge, he says, is not quite as overwhelming as it had been in the last two years. “The market-rate multifamily projects have risk of lease-up; you don’t have that in affordable housing.” While lenders are not exactly throwing money at affordable housing projects, now is the perfect time to develop such communities in California, Nagarkatti adds, and the reason is threefold. “You’re not competing with market-rate projects for land, so land prices have stabilized; construction costs are low, so you can get competitive pricing to build; and the pricing of tax credits have gone up substantially.”
AMCAL’s goal is to provide high-quality, energy-efficient workforce housing to as many qualifying California families as it can, and the company, having completed the development of 30 affordable housing communities encompassing over 3,000 units since 1995, continues to make headway in its endeavor. Presently, AMCAL is in the process of constructing 10 new tax-credit developments awarded between 2008 and 2010.