TODAY’S DEALS: Insight Breaks Ground on 310-Unit Maryland Asset

Insight Property Group begins its Silver Spring development; Beech Street closes $32.5 million for a four-property acquisition; and CBRE HMF originates its first two loans under HUD’s LIHC pilot program.

Fenwick Station

Silver Spring, Md.—Insight Property Group and Nova-Habitat have broken ground on Fenwick Station, a six-story, 310-unit development two blocks from the Silver Spring Metro Station in downtown Silver Spring, Md. The project, which was announced back in February 2012, is located on the former site of the U.S. Post Office distribution facility at 8616 Second Avenue. The $75 million project represents Insight’s entry into Maryland. It will be built to LEED Silver specifications and will include 39 affordable units.

“Fenwick Station is located in a well-established residential neighborhood and at the same time offers residents immediate access to Metro and all of the amenities of downtown Silver Spring,” says Richard Haulser, principal at Insight. “The large plaza area will also welcome residents from surrounding neighborhoods with attractive benches, a water fountain for bikers and a gathering place for community events. Silver Spring continues to experience very low apartment vacancy rates, with strong demand for apartments that are walking distance to Metro, retail, restaurants and a large commercial jobs base.”

On-site amenities at the property will include an outdoor dining room and pool on the ground level, a resident lounge and clubroom with kitchen and billiards, a wireless business center, a fitness center, guest suite, and a rooftop terrace with a television and built-in bar.

Beech Street Closes $32.5M for a four-property portfolio

Birmingham Property

Birmingham, Ala.—Beech Street Capital has closed Fannie Mae conventional loans totaling $32.5 million for the acquisition of a four-property portfolio totaling 770 units in the Birmingham, Ala., metropolitan area. The transaction was originated by Barry Lefkowitz and Jay Jacobovitch of Meridian Capital Group, and was financed by Beech Street as part of its correspondent relationship with Meridian. Beech Street had previously worked with the borrower, Embassy Group, in providing financing for the acquisition of a 352-unit community in Indianapolis.

The four properties—Ascot Place, Forest Ridge, Woodbrook, and Meadow Wood—are all considered Class B, garden-style apartments.  They were originally developed by the seller in the 1980s and have been owned and operated by it ever since. They were all well maintained.

CBRE HMF originates first two loans under HUD’s LIHC pilot program

San Francisco–CBRE, through its direct HUD FHA lender, CBRE HMF Inc., announced the successful closing of the first two projects in the nation to be financed under HUD’s new Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Pilot Program. CBRE HMF was one of the first FHA lenders approved to participate in the program, which is designed to increase FHA’s production of affordable housing by streamlining the processing of mortgage applications and significantly cutting approval timelines.

Both loans—in the amounts of $13.3 million for Villa Vasona Apartments in Los Gatos, Calif., and $4,2 million for Twin Oaks Apartments in Vacaville, Calif.—have low fixed interest rates and 35-year terms and are non-recourse and fully amortizing. The sponsors secured 9 percent LIHTCs for the properties through the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, qualifying them to take advantage of the higher rehabilitation limits and increased efficiency available under the Pilot Program. Ultimately the loans were processed in record time, both closing just 120 days after the initial concept meeting.

“We are pleased to have worked with HUD FHA to break new ground in affordable multifamily financing,” Jayne Hulbert, president of CBRE HMF, says. “The Pilot Program is a valuable tool in financing low-income housing, and it marks a new level of responsiveness from HUD. This experience shows that HUD is backing up their good intentions with action, by speeding up processing and creatively designing terms to meet affordable development realities.”

Constructed in 1983, Villa Vasona Apartments is a seven-building, 107-unit property restricted to elderly and disabled residents. The site is leased from the Town of Los Gatos at a cost of $1 per year, with the provision that the project remain in its present use. Also built in 1983, Twin Oaks Apartments consists of 12 two-story walk-up structures and totals 46 one-, two- and three-bedroom family units. Both properties will receive moderate improvements as part of participation in the Pilot Program, including new siding, appliances and cabinetry, as well as general site upgrades and increased accessibility.

The sponsors for the financings, Highland Companies LLC and Mission Housing Development Corporation, are experienced developers, owners and operators of housing for low-income families, seniors and the disabled.

RBC Capital Markets’ Tax Credit Equity Group (TCEG) provided the equity capital through its purchase of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit awarded to both projects.

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