Community Frameworks, a Spokane-based nonprofit that develops and supports affordable housing, plans to buy a 40-unit Spokane Valley apartment complex and renovate it for work-force and low-income tenants.
The acquisition and renovation costs for the San Franciscan Apartments complex, at 12204 E. Fourth, are estimated at $3.5 million, says Chris Venne, Community Frameworks' development finance manager.
The apartment complex, located a block west of Pines Road and a few blocks south of Sprague Avenue, includes five two-story buildings with one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 500 to 700 square feet, Venne says.
The nonprofit has received a $2.25 million award for the project through the state-funded Washington Works housing program and is expecting that the state will approve $1.25 million in tax-exempt bond funding through Banner Bank that would complete the financing, he says. Washington Works, a Washington state Housing Finance Commission program established by the Legislature in its last session, encourages constructing or rehabilitating work-force housing.
"If the state approves the bond, the bank can charge lower interest than it would for a conventional loan, because it turns the loan into a tax-exempt bond, and the interest income is tax free," Venne says.
The planned renovations, which are estimated at $1 million, will include replacing appliances, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, and heating and cooling systems, he says.
"We want to bring everything up to modern standards and give it a nice, long, useful life," he says.
Venne says Community Frameworks will select a contractor to renovate the complex in mid-December. Zeck Butler Architects PS, of Spokane, designed the project.
In addition to apartment buildings, the complex also includes a 1,200-square-foot community building and an 800-square-foot swimming pool, which has been closed for at least one season, Venne says.
"We will bring back the pool and do some upgrades of the grounds," he says.
The Washington Works housing program has some income limitations for tenants, Venne says. At least 20 units there must be available to renters who make less than 80 percent of the median area income, and eight of those units must be available to renters who make less than 50 percent of the median area income, Venne says. The tenants who live in the complex now probably already meet those criteria, he says.
Community Frameworks likely will work out a staging schedule, with renovations starting first on vacant apartments, Venne says.
"We will rehab units that become vacant, move tenants while we work on their apartments, and then move them back," he says. "We'll do the work and handle the costs, and the tenants will have newly rehabbed, energy-efficient places to move back to."
Venne says Washington Works requires a long-term commitment far exceeding the finance period.
"After the initial loan is paid offin our case 20 yearsthey want us to lower the rent to make the units even more affordable," he says. "It's the first time the state has tried something exactly like this."
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