A pre-application for a 9-percent, low-income housing tax credit for the project has to be submitted to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs by Friday.
Doug Braden, assistant director of technical services for the NWGHA, told the board it could take 20 to 25 years to completely renovate Willingham Village if the partnership is not successful in getting the tax credits to move forward with the project.
“I don’t think this community understands that we are moving forward and trying to do so much,” said Lee Hight, chairman of the NWGHA board. “Look at how far we’ve come in public housing in this community. It’s amazing. We’re trying to think outside of the box.”
Bridgeland Development LLC and RHA/Housing Inc. would be the 51-percent partners with the NWGHA. Bridgeland is the developer of Ashland Park Apartments at Ga. 53 and the Rome bypass.
The NWGHA and its partners would split the initial developers’ fee for the project, which could net the housing authority between $900,000 and $1 million. Those funds could be used for nearly anything the authority deems appropriate since it is not federal money.
After three years, the NWGHA would take over management of the complex and get a 5-percent developers fee. After 15 years, the authority would have the right of first refusal to reacquire the buildings. Initially, the authority will sign a 50-year ground lease with the partners and retain control of the land where the 173-unit Willingham Village sits off Brookwood Avenue.
Nearly two dozen Willingham Village units have been renovated in recent years.
If the Housing Authority is successful in winning the tax credits, it would still be close to a year before ground would be broken. “That’s light-speed in HUD time,” said member Michael Taylor, referring to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
NWGHA Executive Director Sandra Hudson said the authority should know if the application has been approved by September or October. At least two other groups in Rome are also expected to file applications for tax credits, including the South Rome Redevelopment Corp. and Charles Williams REIC.