By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Norfolk, Va.—Community Preservation and Development Corp. (CPDC) has acquired Woodmere Trace, a 300-unit workforce housing property in Norfolk, Va. The nonprofit paid $20.7 million for the community, which features one- and two-bedroom units that range in rent from about $800 to $1,000 a month.
The deal is being financed through the Housing Partnership Equity Trust, or Equity Trust, a social-purpose REIT created to increase the stock and improve the quality of affordable and workforce housing. Equity Trust was established earlier this year, having raised $100 million from Citi, Morgan Stanley, Prudential Financial, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation, to begin investing in multifamily properties in partnership with 12 nonprofit housing providers, including CPDC.
According to Equity Trust president and CEO Drew Ades, financing through the REIT structure provides the partner nonprofits with a ready source of capital acquire and operate properties (like Woodmere Trace) over a sustained period. It also enables the nonprofits to act quickly to preserve affordable housing stock, which is often at risk through gentrification or neglect, without depending on Low-Income Housing Tax Credits or other public subsidies.
PDC plans various renovations to the property, including full kitchen and bathroom rehab, roof and HVAC replacement as needed, improvements to exterior stairwells and dealing with landscaping issues throughout the site. The renovations will be complete by the end of 2014. CPDC is hosting a series of meetings with Woodmere Trace residents, property managers and neighborhood groups to discuss the work before renovations begin.
The acquisition is part of Washington, DC-based CPDC’s strategy to expand into the Seven Cities (Hampton Roads) region of Virginia, along with Richmond and Baltimore. While the acquisition represents CPDC’s entrance into the Hampton Roads market, CPDC president and CEO J. Michael Pitchford has long-standing ties to the area, having attended Norfolk Catholic High School and Old Dominion University, and served as chairman of Norfolk’s Harborfest.