A 44-unit apartment building meant for those with low to moderate incomes will officially open Thursday in downtown Newport News.
Every unit at Brennan Pointe, 3100 Warwick Blvd., has been rented out, said Bruce Watts, development director for Virginia and eastern North Carolina for Woda Group, the building’s developer.
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Those who want to live there can earn only 60 percent of the area median income or less, which is about $43,000, Watts said. A second building with 43 units being built next door will be done in about a year, Watts said.
Ohio-based Woda Group focuses on building complexes for families and seniors with low to moderate incomes and has buildings across 13 states, said Craig Patterson, a senior vice president at Woda.
Brennan Pointe is a couple of blocks from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School. That’s one of the reasons Woda found the city — and this location — a prime one to build in. They also anticipated a growth in those wanting to live downtown after doing a market study.
“It made sense to put low- to moderate-income housing there,” Patterson said.
The partial-brick building will have two- and three-bedroom apartments. Rents will range between $650 and $900, Watts said.
They’re “modern energy-efficient units” that have EarthCraft Platinum certification, which is awarded to buildings that have good green features and designs, Patterson said.
Some of that includes Energy Star appliances, good insulation, low-flow faucets and low water use from sinks and toilets, he said.
The building has a community room and outdoor play area. Watts said their buildings are affordable but are sometimes better than market-rate buildings.
A large part of that is because the company received highly competitive low-income housing tax credits from the Virginia Housing Development Authority. Getting those credits was a key part of the two-and-a-half-year process to plan, get permits, finance and build, Watts and Patterson said.
Groups like Woda apply for these credits, then sell them to banks or corporations. That equity helps buttress the cost of building. The catch is that developers must commit to reserving apartments for those who have low incomes.
In 2014, VHDA awarded Woda tax credits worth a total $5.1 million in financing, according to VHDA records and Patterson.
That helped pay for most of the $7.4 million project, Patterson said. RBC Capital was the primary investor of those credits. Bank of America also bought in, according to a news release from Woda.
Woda has also received tax credits for the second building. The Newport News Housing and Redevelopment Authority agreed to allocate some Section 8 voucher access to that building, said Karen Wilds, NNRHA’s housing director.
“Not only is the property providing affordable housing of what had been a vacant site there in the downtown area, it’s just very attractive, good quality, affordable housing,” Wilds said.
Amin can be reached by phone at 757-247-4890 or on Twitter at @reemadamin.