Apartment complex purchase ensures decades of affordable housing

Apartment complex purchase ensures decades of affordable housing

Roof Above announced its purchase of an entire apartment community that will preserve 341 apartments in east Charlotte for individual and family households earning a range of incomes.

In a $50 million deal made possible through a public-private partnership, Roof Above, Charlotte’s a provider of services for people experiencing homelessness, has acquired HillRock Estates on 23 acres near Kilborne Drive.

Through deed restrictions, Roof Above will ensure the apartments remain affordable for at least 27 years for households earning below the city’s median income.

Content Continues Below

A philanthropic gift of $5 million, the largest single private gift ever received by Roof Above, and a gift of $2 million, both donated anonymously from two Charlotte families, made the deal possible.

Atrium Health also was crucial in securing the property, providing a $5 million low-interest loan to Roof Above in exchange for the use of 50 apartments over time to house Atrium workers in need of assistance.

Financing also was provided by Bellweather Enterprise through a Fannie Mae loan, as well as the city of Charlotte’s voter-approved Housing Trust Fund.

An innovation grant of $600,000 from Local Initiatives Support Corporation and additional philanthropic donations totaling $1 million rounded out the funding for the project.

“We are so grateful for our corporate, philanthropic and government partners in this innovative solution that will provide housing for so many individuals and families,’' Roof Above CEO Liz Clasen-Kelly said. “HillRock Estates embodies the kind of bold thinking we had in mind last year when we merged Urban Ministry Center and Men’s Shelter of Charlotte to form a single, more impactful organization.”

Charlotte faces a deficit of at least 34,000 affordable housing units, primarily for families making 60% or less of the city’s median income.

Roof Above’s project preserves what is known as Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing, which comprises unsubsidized rental properties that are typically Class B and Class C apartment buildings with 50 units or more, built between 1940 and 1990.

Roof Above teamed up with Ascent Real Estate Capital, a leader in NOAH preservation in Charlotte, to execute the acquisition, financing and affordability plan for the project. Ascent will serve as operating partner and asset manager of the property in partnership with Roof Above.

Roof Above stepped in to buy HillRock Estates just as the redevelopment trend moved into the community and began to drive up rental prices.

Rent restrictions will be phased in as turnover occurs, with apartments made affordable to households making 80% of the city’s median income and less.

At least 75 of the 341 units will be designated for individuals who have had long-term experiences of homelessness, and Mecklenburg County will provide funding for on-site services to support those tenants in retaining their housing.

“The beauty of HillRock is that it’s funded primarily through private sources and will operate much like any apartment community does,” Clasen-Kelly said, “yet at the same time will accommodate households with a range of incomes, including some of Charlotte’s most vulnerable residents.”

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, public affairs manager at WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.