Executive Council set to OK InvestNH affordable housing grants

$49.5 million to be awarded to 30 projects with over 900 affordable units

New Hampshire is on the brink of awarding $49.5 million in grants to 30 multi-family housing developments with a total of nearly 1,500 units, some 1,000 affordable of them affordable.

The awards – which are on the Executive Council’s agenda this morning – are part of the state’s $100 InvestNH program, part of the $1 billion the state received through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Among the winners are names familiar to the construction and real estate community – Tamposi, Chinburg, Anagnost – but some of the competitive awards went to smaller developers and nonprofits as well.

“New Hampshire is experiencing an unprecedented crisis in housing availability, which is impacting affordability for all types of housing. In some areas, this means less than 1% of units are available for prospective tenants,” says the Department of Business and Economic Affairs’ request for Executive Council approval of the spending.

InvestNH is also giving $10 million to the NH Housing Finance Authority for administering secondary loans that only have to paid back if the developers have the cash flow to do so. There is also $30 million in incentives for municipalities to approve affordable housing, and $5 million to them to help them plan for more pro housing regulations, and $5 demolish vacant or dilapidated buildings.

The developers had to submit their grant requests by September 2, and the approvals were supposed to be on last month’s agenda. Of the 30 belated awards, 10 projects are to receive the $3 million maximum, or close to it. Larger projects (those with more than 15 units) have to contain 20 percent affordable apartments.

Affordable rents for people who earn 80 percent or less of area median income cannot exceed 30 percent of their monthly wages. All told, some 1,472 units would be created, with 918 deemed affordable.

Some of the funds to be administered by the BEA will be awarded as short-term, interest-free loans to be forgiven when the projects are completed within 18 months of approval, though that could be pushed until as late as Dec. 31 2024.

Some developers have chosen to have them administered though NH Housing so that they can take advantage of other tax credit financing. They will have until the end of 2025 to complete their project.

The 10 largest projects (all but one getting the maximum of $3 million) and their project managers are:

  • Gateway at Exeter, 224 total units 56 affordable, Tom Monahan, developer
  • McIntosh Dover Apartments ($2.8 million), 156 units, 57 affordable, Todd Baker, developer
  • Stevens Mill, Franklin, 153 units, 31 affordable Eric Chinburg, developer
  • The Villages at Province Street, Laconia, 90 units, 81 affordable, Dick Anagnost, developer
  • 195 Pembroke Road Apartments, Concord, 84 units, all affordable, Joseph Tamposi, developer
  • Dexter Richards and Sons Woolen Mill, Newport, 70 units 60 affordable, Jonathan Livadas, developer
  • 310 Marlboro, Keene, 57 units, 15 affordable, Randall Walter, Jason Garland, developer
  • 515 DW Highway Apartments, Merrimack 48 apartments, 43 affordable, Dick Anagnost, developer
  • Ridgeline Community, Conway, 44 units, 15 affordable, ,Joseph Hogan, developer
  • Signature on Elm, Manchester, 35 units 15 affordable, Jason Garland, developer

The smallest award of $250,000 will go to Manchester Street Revitalization project for 13 total units, all of which are affordable.

The BEA did not discuss the competitive process or how the 20 projects were chosen, but earlier it indicated that there would be a grading metric, with extra points for projects exceeding the affordable requirements and were shovel-ready.  The funds are supposed to be used for hard costs only, matched by the developers and be the last funds in.

Cambridge Trust commitment

The funds to developers won’t be enough to complete the projects, and that’s where private commercial lending from financial institutions like Cambridge Trust comes in.

The bank yesterday announced a deal with NH Housing committing $30 million to nonprofit developers.  While the interest rates will be competitive with other lenders, the terms will be up to 40 years, and the financing will be easier to arrange, said Rob Dapice, executive director of NH Housing.

“It will mean that things will close a lot quickly rather than have developers shop around,” Dapice told NH Business Review.

“This announcement recognizes the lack of affordable housing as one of the greatest challenges for New Hampshire residents and our belief that one of the critical solutions to the crisis is the increase in supply of housing stock” said Denis K. Sheahan, [resident and CEO of Cambridge Trust in a press release.

The Massachusetts bank – founded in 1890 – also provides banking services and wealth management in New Hampshire. It has $5.1 billion in bank assets and $4 billion in trust assets under management as of June 30, according to its website.

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