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County OKs Use Of $1.9M For Affordable Housing Project

By Cece Nunn, posted Oct 18, 2021
Starway Village is a 100% affordable housing project planned for Carolina Beach Road. (File rendering)
County officials on Monday agreed to set aside nearly $1.9 million to help an affordable housing apartment project come to fruition in the city of Wilmington.

The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday morning to grant a developer's request for the gap funding allocation. The funding, which has been referred to as gap financing, would be considered a grant rather than a loan and would not be paid back, county staff members told the board. 

The project, a 278-unit apartment development planned on the site of the Starway Flea Market at 2346 Carolina Beach Road, could get another $3.5 million in gap funding from the city of Wilmington if the city council gives the go-ahead at an upcoming meeting.

The total request for the project, nearly $5.4 million, would leverage about $54 million in tax credit equity and financing. The developers have applied to the N.C. Housing Finance Agency for a 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) award and a tax-free bond allocation.

The 4% award is less competitive than the 9% LIHTC option, developers and county officials said.

The complex, dubbed Starway Village, would include one- to three-bedroom apartments with rents from $699 to $900 a month. The units are expected to be affordable to working households earning from $32,000 to $50,000 a year.

"The rent proposed for the project will provide a level of affordability that's not generally seen by market-rate proposals, which recently have run around $1,300 a month for one bedroom, $1,800 a month for two bedrooms and $2,200 a month for three bedrooms," said Rebekah Roth, New Hanover County's planning and land use director, during the county board meeting Monday.

The Starway Village developers are Bradley Development and Kelley Development Co. They said in their county proposal that Starway Village’s gap funding needs are primarily caused by two items – the cost of purchasing the real estate (expected to be $4.25 million for about 15 acres) and the cost of expanding Maryland Avenue through the project to Carolina Beach Road.
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