State awards tax credits for downtown apartment rehabilitation project
The Montana Department of Commerce has awarded more than $32 million in federal housing tax credits for developments in five communities, including Great Falls, that will build or rehabilitate more than 150 affordable housing units.
This year, developers submitted housing tax credit applications for eight projects, requesting nearly $50 million to build or rehabilitate homes.
On Oct. 26, the department announced that the board had allocated the competitive federal housing tax credits to:
- Billings – Mitchell Court: $6,500,000 to build 32 new affordable homes for families and individuals
- Bozeman – 7th and Aspen: $6,350,000 to build 23 new affordable homes for families and individuals
- Great Falls – Elmore Roberts Apartments: $6,500,000 to acquire and rehabilitate 60 affordable homes for families and individuals
- Hamilton – Riverstone Senior Residence: $6,500,000 to build 23 new affordable homes for seniors
- Helena – Twin Creek Apartments: $6,500,000 to build 20 new affordable homes for families and individuals
“Each year, the board invites eight projects to submit a full application and is faced with very difficult decisions, as we are only able to award four or five projects with the limited housing credits available,” Bruce Posey, Montana Board of Housing chair, said in a release. “All eight projects that applied are desperately needed to provide affordable, attainable housing in our communities. I do believe the eight applications submitted this year have been the highest quality I have seen during my tenure with the board, making this year’s decision especially challenging.”
The Montana Board of Housing is part of the Montana Department of Commerce.
Federal housing tax credits flow through the state agency and fund the construction or rehabilitation of nearly 160 homes, on average, annually.
This year’s awarded properties will support the creation of an estimated 382 jobs and about $22.2 million in local wages, according to a department release.
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In July, Community Preservation Partners presented their plan to City Commissioners to renovate the Roberts Apartments at the corner of Central Avenue and 6th Street.
The firm presented to the Montana Board of Housing in May and was invited back for the full tax credit application process.
The firm is planning an extensive $4.9 million rehabilitation of the building, which has 60 units, with energy efficiency and safety upgrades. The building has commercial units on the ground floor.
During the July 18 City Commission meeting, CPP presented the project and commissioners held a public hearing on community housing needs, as required by state law for tax credits and tax exemption applications.
Commissioners do not take action on the tax credit applications.
The firm is partnering with NeighborWorks Great Falls on the project.
CPP applied for low-income housing tax credits from the Montana Board of Housing to finance the preservation of the 60-unit apartment building as affordable housing.
Low-income housing tax credits are federal tax credits that service as a primary financing source for rent and income restricted housing. The Montana Board of Housing administers the tax credit program in the state.
Ryan Kucich with CPP said the project would keep the current income levels for the apartments in place for another 50 years.
He said during the July 18 meeting that the plan is to preserve the affordable housing for those already living there.
The current federal subsidy programs that keep the building as affordable housing are set to expire in December and January and the apartments are at risk of becoming market rate, which would force relocation for many current residents, Kucich told commissioners.