Homeport Lands Two 'Tax Credit' Awards

Second phase rendering of Hamilton Crossing in Whitehall.

Second phase rendering of Hamilton Crossing in Whitehall.

For the first time in over a decade, Homeport has received two Low Income Housing Tax Credit awards to develop affordable housing.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) on May 15 awarded $565,000 for a 32-apartment senior community in Whitehall. OHFA also awarded $899,000 toward the financing of 50 affordable apartments and single-family homes in North Linden.

Leah Evans, Homeport Senior VP of Real Estate

Leah Evans, Homeport Senior VP of Real Estate

“We’re very excited about the awards,” said Homeport Senior Vice President for Real Estate Leah Evans. “This certainly helps in our goal of closing the housing gap to reduce the number of individuals and families paying a disproportionate amount of their income for rent.”

A study by the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio estimates that 54,000 lower-income families pay half or more of their income for housing.

Hamilton Crossing, near Hamilton and Etna roads, opened in late 2017 with 64 units. Today there is a two-year wait for those interested in living in the 55 years of age or older community in Whitehall.

It is why funding was sought for a $6.2 million, 32-unit second phase.

“We always hear about how much the residents enjoy living at the property,” Evans said. “It is hard being on your own, but when you go to Hamilton Crossing you see people building relationships with each other. It is not just housing, it is a way of living.”

To live in the second phase of Hamilton Crossing, a single resident in a one-bedroom unit could earn 30 to 60 percent of the area median income, which in 2019 is $16,380 to $32,760.

Kenlawn Place, off Cleveland Avenue in North Linden, estimated to cost $10.2 million, would be the first major development investment into the area since the City of Columbus announced its One Linden community revitalization plan.

Early rendering of Kenlawn Place.

Early rendering of Kenlawn Place.

Kenlawn Place’s three-story garden apartments would provide 16 one- and 29 two-bedroom, 1.5 bath apartments for individuals earning 30 to 80 percent of the area median income, from $16,380 to $43,680. Two people in a two-bedroom could earn $18,720 to $49,920. Plans for Kenlawn Place also call for building five scattered single-family homes, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, for larger families, with similar income parameters, to rent close by to the apartments.

Homeport is working with the local community to gather comments to finalize the design for Kenlawn Place. The development will be on the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s CMAX bus line, providing transportation access to work or other destinations throughout the city.

Initial Kenlawn Place Site Plan.

Initial Kenlawn Place Site Plan.

The last time OHFA awarded Homeport two tax credit awards in a single year was 2005 when it funded the 48-unit Fieldstone Court senior community off Alum Creek Drive, and 158 apartments for families at Bending Brook Apartments on the southwest side of Columbus.

The OHFA LIHTC awards are highly competitive. And while Homeport is pleased with receiving two awards, the organization knows affordable housing needs are great and require alternative investment partners as well, said Homeport Senior Vice President Evans.

“We are always looking for new opportunities and partnerships to collaborate in meeting the needs of affordable housing. It is not something we can do on our own,” she said.

Construction for Kenlawn and the second phase of Hamilton Crossing could start in spring 2020.