A neglected block of homes west of State Street in Fondren has given way to an $18.5 million multi-family housing development.
Taylor Court, Oxford Court and Downing Court will feature 163 one, two and three bedroom apartments between the streets of Taylor, Oxford, Downing and Lorenz. The development is being financed through the sale of the Housing Tax Credits awarded by the Mississippi Home Corporation and through permanent financing.
Bob King, president of Madison, Miss. based Triangle Development Corporation, was awarded the credits in November 2013 and closed on the properties in November 2014. “With thirty parcels of land, some owned by property owners as far away as Hawaii, there were many moving parts,” King said.
Site work began in early 2015, making way for six buildings of apartments featuring amenities including a suite of appliances, ceiling fans, perimeter fencing, tankless water heaters and washers and dryers for each individual unit.Â Other amenities include an on-site business center, fitness center security cameras and 24 hour security patrol, along with 300 spaces of on-site parking. Triangle CFO Bryan King says the project will be a bronze, if not silver LEED certified build.
The development comes under the Mississippi Governor’s Health Care Zone initiative, a program aimed at job creation and the building of affordable housing in proximity to health centers like that in Fondren. With University of Mississippi Medical Center, St. Dominic Hospital, Methodist Rehab and the VA Hospital nearby, the development scored high in what Mississippi Home Corporation calls a “competitive application process.”
To qualify for the credits, developers must agree to a strict 15 year compliance period that calls for regular inspections of the properties. That relationship can be extended for another term, making this a 30 year commitment to Fondren. LEDIC, a well-known, Memphis-based company with 30 years of experience, will manage King’s properties. The company oversses 90,000 units in 11 states.
Mississippi Home Corporation executive director Scott Spivey says that studies have shown that diverse neighborhoods of mixed socioeconomic status are the ones that survive. He adds, “(This development) will be an asset for a long period of time.”
Spivey points to multi-family properties built on the Mississippi Gulf Coast using tax credits following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as an example of success. “We’ve seen public-private partnerships that brought affordable rents to the area,” he explained. And just like those coastal properties, he says this will be a “rent-up” situation for many.
“No one is importing tenants, Spivey went on to say. “These apartments will be for people who are already here: restaurant servers and up-and-coming young professionals. And there will be a waiting list.”
Restauranteur Jeff Good, whose Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza and Ice Cream joint is just east of Taylor, Oxford and Downing Courts, says the perception of those properties has created some fear and doubt over time. He says, “(After meeting with the developer), I think we’re very excited about this activity in Fondren.”
By the numbers:
Downing Court’s 60 units include 14 one bedroom, 28 two bedroom and 18 three bedroom apartments; Oxford Court’s 55 units include 15 one bedroom, 25 two bedroom and 15 three bedroom apartments; and Taylor Court’s 48 units include eight one bedroom, 26 two bedroom, and 14 three bedroom apartments. Square footages are: 1 BR – 735 +/-; 2 BR – 860 +/-; 3 BR – 1000 +/-. Rents are: 1BR – $658; 2 BR – $792; 3 BR – $914.
There will also be units with handicapped facilities and amenities for persons with disabilities. Ten percent of the units are reserved for disabled and special needs and another ten percent for Veterans.