Chapel Hill News

Raleigh developer gets funding for Chapel Hill apartment project

Gregg Warren
Gregg Warren

A Raleigh-based affordable-housing developer will get tax credits and $1.3 million in loans to build 80 family apartments on Legion Road.

There’s a lot of work to do before anyone can move into Greenfield Place, from submitting development applications to being approved by the Town Council and its advisory boards, said Gregg Warren, president of DHIC Inc.

“We’ll be trying to get together with town staff to really map that out in the coming weeks,” Warren said.

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency announced its award for Greenfield Place – $785,000 in federal tax credits and a $1 million loan from the state’s Rental Production Program – on Friday.

DHIC also is investing $300,000 in the project, plus another $300,000 from Orange County and Chapel Hill.

The town is selling the land to DHIC for $100. The 8.5-acre site beside Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery is undeveloped and will need retaining walls and major ground work to level out its steep slopes. They will need a lot of fill dirt, Warren said.

Greenfield Place will have 14 one-bedroom, 52 two-bedroom and 14 three-bedroom apartments in four three-story buildings. The rent would be priced for families earning up to 60 percent of the area median income, from $271 for a one-bedroom apartment to $870 for three bedrooms.

The AMI for a family of four in Chapel Hill is $67,400.

The first phase of DHIC’s two-part affordable housing project could cost roughly $9 million and be finished by December 2017, Warren said.

DHIC could seek another round of funding in January to build the project’s second phase – roughly 60 apartments for seniors age 55 and up. Those plans for Greenfield Commons are still being worked out, said Natalie Britt, DHIC’s vice president for rental development.

Town leaders have said the DHIC partnership is central to affordable-housing plans for the Ephesus-Fordham redevelopment district. The district’s goal is for 20 percent of roughly 1,500 planned apartments to be affordable to families earning 60 percent to 80 percent of area media income.

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency commissioned its own rental market study as part of the tax credit application process. The study examined the need for lower-cost housing across much of Chapel Hill, as well as in western Durham County, as far north as Pickett Road and east to Garrett Road.

The state’s study – from Bowen National Research – found a demand for more than 4,000 apartments in the local market. The DHIC project would meet roughly 2 percent of that demand, the study found.

DHIC sought funding for Greenfield Place last year, but its application was rejected because the agency failed to note its $300,000 contribution. The Town Council voted in October to give the nonprofit agency another year to secure financing.

“We’re really pleased that the town gave us another chance to submit this application again,” Warren said. “Their support has really been exemplary.”

Greenfield Place is the town’s first public-private partnership since adopting its Affordable Rental Housing Strategy in 2014. Warren was a member of the Mayor’s Committee on Affordable Rental Housing that drafted the strategy.