Mount Airy is getting a 56-unit apartment complex, thanks to a state agency giving its approval for tax credits needed for the project.
Plans for the $7.4 million Edgewood Place development have been in the works for more than two years, but were temporarily derailed in 2011 when it failed to qualify for the credits through the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency.
That led to the developer, Wynnefield Properties of Jamestown, seeking them again this year in the hopes of a better outcome, which has turned out to be the case.
“It’s been a long road to get to this point,” Wynnefield Properties President Craig Stone said Thursday afternoon, “and we are unbelievably ecstatic and happy to be coming to the community.” He said construction could start in early 2013.
The apartment complex, targeted for Edgewood Drive near Walmart, is expected to provide a boost to a local housing market many say is sorely lacking in modern and affordable rental housing. Speakers at a March public hearing regarding a city application for Community Development Block Grant funding to aid the project said the units will fill a major void.
Those speakers represented the real estate profession as well as residents who cited their difficulties in finding good housing when moving to Mount Airy.
Edgewood Place will have 42 two-bedroom and 14 three-bedroom units, based on earlier reports. The Wynnefield Properties official has said it will contain seven buildings, including a clubhouse, with a fitness center, walking trails and space for residents to raise gardens among the amenities.
However, all of this hinged on the receiving of the tax credits, basically a form of financing to aid construction as well as allow lower rent prices than would be possible otherwise. While tenants must fall within certain median income boundaries, Stone has stressed that “public housing” won’t be involved.
The tax credits are awarded through a highly competitive process involving applications submitted for housing projects around the state. During the 2011 awards cycle, the Edgewood Drive complex did not score high enough in a bid for $590,264 in credits.
This year, the project qualified for $450,379 in federal housing credits and a $315,000 Rental Production Program (RPP) loan, according to Housing Finance Agency documents. A development becomes eligible for an RPP loan only after it has been approved for the federal credits, under agency guidelines.
Stone said Thursday the next steps in the process to bring the apartment complex to reality will include meeting with architects and city building codes officials to finalize all the logistics involved.
“If I could start tomorrow, we would start tomorrow,” he said of the construction. But with another four months of preliminary steps awaiting, he expects work to begin sometime after the first of the year.
Martin Collins, the city’s community-development coordinator, said the apartments will add balance to the Edgewood Drive area, which has become increasingly retail-oriented in recent years. Collins said the complex will reinforce its residential segment.
Mount Airy officials have furthered the project by granting an annexation request by Wynnefield Properties for the apartment site at 1476 and 1510 Edgewood Drive in May 2011. The two parcels adjoin each other near the intersection of Park Drive and Carter Street.
This past April, the city commissioners approved an application for $250,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding targeted for infrastructure work in the Edgewood Place complex, such as streets, sewer lines and sidewalks.
When Edgewood Place is completed, it will be a source of pride in Mount Airy for many years to come, Stone said.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.