House Investments Lands $21M for Indiana Workforce Housing

Merchant Capital provided financing for a 180-unit affordable development in Evansville.
Forge on Main. Image courtesy of Merchants Capital

House Investments has obtained a three-year, $21 million financing package for the development of Forge on Main, a 180-unit affordable, workforce housing project underway in Evansville, Ind. Merchants Capital provided a $17.6 million construction note while the Indiana Economic Development Corp. granted an $3.4 million equity bridge loan in redevelopment tax credits.

IEDC is one of Forge on Main’s development partners, together with the Partnership for Affordable Housing Inc. and the City of Evansville. House Investments broke ground on the $28.4 million project in August, with completion expected in 12 to 18 months.

Taking its name from a 19th century plow factory, Forge on Main is coming online at 200 N. Main St. in the Jacobsville neighborhood, on the former site of the old IGA grocery store which closed in 2018. The location is both within an Opportunity Zone and within the city’s Promise Zone, a designation for Evansville’s neighborhoods with a poverty rate of more than 39 percent.

Blackline Studio designed and Empire Contractors is building the three-story development which also includes 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Upon completion, the community will comprise studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Of the total, 18 units will be reserved for residents earning at or below 60 percent of the area’s median income, while the remainder will cater to households earning from 60 to 120 percent of the AMI.

The development site is roughly 1 mile from the city center just north of Lloyd Expressway, within waking distance of Deaconess Midtown Hospital.

Part of the area’s revival

According to city officials, Forge on Main will help revitalize the neighborhood, together with the Deaconess Aquatic Center at Garvin Park, a $30 million project replacing the indoor Lloyd Pool, and the $15 million revamping of North Main Street.

Project financing also includes $1.5 million in tax-increment financing bonds and a 10-year property tax abatement from the City. Additionally, the CenterPoint Energy Foundation provided a grant to the project.