Boone housing project moves forward
by Anna Oakes
The N.C. Housing Finance Agency in August awarded a $648,000 federal housing credit to United Developers, which plans a 72-unit apartment complex called Watauga Green off Perkinsville Drive.
The project also received an $800,000 low-interest loan from the agency.
The project is the first in Watauga County to receive a federal housing tax credit, for which developers must adhere to strict guidelines to qualify. United Developers representatives said units would be designated for families earning up to 40 percent, 50 percent and 60 percent of the county median income.
"We are thrilled beyond expression that we were able to receive that award," said Bill Owen, senior site coordinator for Fayetteville-based United Developers. "We knew that there was a need for affordable housing." United Developers has built, owned and managed affordable housing projects since 1979.
Watauga Green will feature 52 two-bedroom units and 20 three-bedroom units in six two-story buildings, Owen said Thursday. A few units will be equipped for persons with physical disabilities. The complex will also include a children's playground and a clubhouse building with laundry facilities, multipurpose space, an office and kitchenette.
The Boone Town Council approved rezoning of the property to Conditional District R-3 Multi-Family in December 2012, and United Developers applied for the federal housing credit in time for a January 2013 deadline. United Developers received a three-year vesting period for the rezoning in case it did not receive the tax credit it needed in this year's funding cycle.
The 41 projects selected to receive tax credits were selected from an initial applicant pool of approximately 140, Owen said.
"We had a good site, and the market was certainly there," he said. "The support of the city meant a lot."
Owen said the federal government awards states federal tax credits based on population, which the N.C. Housing Finance Agency then administers to developers through a competitive application process. Developers then sell the tax credits to financial institutions that become partners in the projects.
Referencing the high cost of development in Watauga County, Owen said, "We did need as much financial help as we could get to make it work, but it's going to work."
Owen said United Developers will now work to close on the sale of the property.
"We hope to start construction, weather permitting, right after the first of the year," he said. "But we plan to have it finished next year."