$7.2M Affordable Housing Project Planned for NE Portland

Fifty new affordable housing units are coming to Northeast Portland. Innovative Housing Inc. is developing a five-story building named The Eliot that will have 1,700 square feet of ground-floor retail and community space. Walsh Construction is partnering with Faison Construction on the $7.2 million apartment project, which is planned to begin in September.

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[Or in case you, like me, have not paid for a DJC subscription so can only read half of their *%$@ stories, here is Innovative Housing, Inc.'s interesting write up on the Eliot:]

New Eliot Housing – How We’re Doing It
The Nuts and Bolts

Site Control- The first step of project development is typically securing site control. IHI began negotiating the acquisition of this parcel in the summer of 2010. The then-owner rejected IHI’s purchase offer and later lost the property to foreclosure. After the property reverted to the lender, IHI renewed its offer and entered into a purchase and sale agreement, contingent on IHI’s due diligence and satisfaction with the property. This agreement also included time for IHI to apply to the Portland Housing Bureau for development funds. Since we secured City funding, IHI’s purchase offer has “gone hard,” meaning that our earnest money deposit is now non-refundable and we have removed our conditions to closing. And now that the project is fully funded, thanks to a very generous award of grants and Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the State, we plan to close on acquisition in the Fall and move full steam ahead on the project!

Funding – Affordable housing development involves piecing together many different funding sources. IHI applied to the Portland Housing Bureau for $975,000 in January 2011 and was awarded funding in February 2011. This first commitment of funds is critical, not only to get the ball rolling but also to show local support for the project. With the City on board, IHI was able to apply for additional funds from the State. We submitted this funding application to Oregon’s Housing and Community Services Department in April 2011, requesting an allocation of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits along with several other state grant sources. On July 22, 2011 we received the thrilling news that the State awarded us nearly $8 Million in grants and tax credits to fully fund the project! The next step will be selecting the tax credit investor to acquire our tax credits and become IHI’s equity partner in the deal.

Design – IHI is working with Carleton Hart Architecture to design a beautiful new building that will blend into the neighborhood and also energize a vacant stretch of streetscape on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Now that the project is fully funded, the design process is in high gear, as we will need final drawings and specifications to apply for permits this fall. The design team is meeting frequently to solidify our programming goals, tour other IHI properties, and discuss building systems. We have an Eco Charrette scheduled for August to explore all the green elements that can be incorporated and help decide what will result in the greatest impact for the project. We will continue working with neighbors to incorporate their feedback on the building’s design. We have already made one change requested by the Eliot Neighborhood Association Land Use Committee – the building steps down one story as it moves away from MLK, to lower its height as we get closer to the existing residential neighborhood. We will continue to post DRAFT renderings on IHI’s website throughout this process as the design evolves.

Construction – IHI involves its contractors early in the development process to tell us how much it will cost to build what is being designed, and also to suggest design changes that will result in a better structure and save money. IHI is working with Walsh Construction Co. and Faison Construction as our general contractors. They will continue to provide cost estimates throughout the design phase and will then take the lead on building the project and coordinating subcontractors during construction. With all funding in place, IHI plans to break ground and begin construction in the summer of 2012.

We will update our progress periodically – thank you for your interest in our work!