Globe Tobacco Lofts

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Challenge

More than 120 years after its construction in the heyday of tobacco in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the Globe Tobacco warehouse has been rejuvenated to provide much-needed housing for working families in the town made famous by the fictional exploits of Mayberry Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife.

Globe Tobacco Lofts are 43 apartments at 838 S. Main St. in Mount Airy. The 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments feature high ceilings, hardwood floors and exposed brick and ductwork that reflect the building’s historic character. Completed in December 2007, the lofts—34 of which are income-restricted—quickly filled up.

In 2008, the project won a J. Timothy Anderson Award for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation from the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association.

Financing

Blending historic tax credits with affordable housing tax credits, the developers of Globe Tobacco Lofts preserved a pivotal structure in the Mount Airy National Historic Register District and raised the bar for rental housing. To celebrate the building’s heritage and its continuing local impact, the developer commissioned a trompe l’oeil mural to be painted on two walls just off the main lobby.

History

Built around 1887, the Globe Tobacco warehouse opened at a time when the tobacco industry in Mount Airy was flourishing. By 1916, however, the building was being used as a barrel-making shop, and from the 1920s until the late 1980s it was being used by the textile industry. With the decline of the textile industry in North Carolina, the building stood vacant as the region worked to reinvent itself a center for high-tech manufacturing and biotechnology. In the context of the region’s economic development, the vacant building became attractive again. Once the N.C. Housing Finance Agency awarded the developer affordable-housing tax credits, restoration began.

Results

During demolition, as additions to the original building were peeled back like the layers of an onion, sections of wood flooring were repurposed for continued use in the renovation phase of the project. Some of the structural steel that remained in what became the common courtyard now “encases” the playground equipment, providing interesting views from residents’ balconies and stimulation for a child’s imagination.

Energy-saving features in the renovation include high-efficiency split-system heat with all duct work and air handlers located in conditioned spaces, and the maximization of available windows and window walls to take advantage of daylight and views to the outside.

The lofts come with modern kitchen appliances, washer-dryer hookups, mini-blinds, ceiling fans, walk-in closets, central air conditioning and heat pumps. There are 20,000 square feet of community space, including an exercise room with fitness station and a study area with computer for children. The building also has an elevator and indoor parking.

Nantucket Lofts

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Overview

Nantucket Lofts is a tax-credit success story in a small North Carolina city. Yes, it provides affordable housing for low- and very-low-income families, but it provides far more. Nantucket Lofts provides a community for like-minded families who take pride in their homes, who support one another, and who share a common belief that things can be better for themselves and for their children.

What it doesn’t provide is “decent” housing. No, Nantucket Lofts was created to provide something special that can’t be found anywhere else in Kinston or communities nearby—loft living in airy, spacious, high-ceilinged units with exposed brick, refinished original hardwood floors and steel windows, new appliances, individual heating and air, Internet access and the innate character of a renovated building more than 100 years old.

Many people who think the units are high-end lofts are turned away from living there for one simple reason: They make too much money to live there.

People beyond Kinston have taken notice. In 2006, the Affordable Housing Tax-Credit Coalition named Nantucket Lofts winner of the Charles L. Edson Award for the best affordable housing project in a rural area.

The Facts

Nantucket Lofts is affordable housing created from the renovation of a tobacco warehouse turned shirt factory in downtown Kinston, North Carolina, population about 23,000. The two-story, 70,000 square-foot building was converted into 28 one- and two-bedroom lofts plus 8,000 square feet of commercial space at a development cost of $5.1 million. The architects were Dunn & Dalton Architects in Kinston. The funding sources were $2.3 million in equity from 9% LIHTCs provided by Community Affordable Housing Equity Corp. (CAHEC); $1.2 million in equity from federal and state historic tax credits provided by CAHEC; $1.1 million in state LIHTC equity through a 30-year deferred no-interest loan from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency; and a $420,000 Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Atlanta Affordable Housing Program (AHP) subsidized loan at 2% with 20-year term and 20-year amortization, and $59,285 FHLB of Atlanta AHP grant, both sponsored by The Mid Atlantic Foundation and provided through Bank of America. Seventeen lofts are set aside for households earning no more than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI); 11 are for households earning no more than 60% of AMI. Three units are wheelchair accessible.

Such innovation can’t exist in a vacuum. It is built around the willingness of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to support initiatives that enhance community development and downtown renewal; the developer’s passion for historic preservation and adaptive reuse; the community’s need for affordable housing; and the city government’s faith in a project that would show non-believers and skeptics just how good “affordable” housing could be.

Development

The development:

  • Preserves an historic “white elephant” structure that loomed as an eyesore in the heart of a rural downtown that was trying hard to revive itself.
  • Created tenant services including a residents’ association, fitness center, health screenings, computer access, and children’s play and study areas.
  • Encourages residents to take greater control of their future, through adult scholarships as well as tutoring and educational opportunities for children.
  • Incorporated unique design features including multi-purpose rooms, outdoor courtyard, indoor playground and street-level commercial space.
  • Enjoys widespread community support and volunteer participation, winning over skeptics and paving the way for additional developments in the future.

Success

From the outside, Nantucket Lofts looks very much like the venerable piece of history that it is: an imposing brick structure that harkens back to an era when tobacco was king. From the inside, however, Nantucket looks very much alive, a community bustling with activity led by a residents association that takes its role very seriously.

Kinston Hotel

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Johnson Lakes Apartments

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Challenge

When the eye of Hurricane Ivan came ashore on Sept. 16, 2004, 140-mile-per-hour winds spawned more than 100 tornadoes and a 13-foot storm surge that devastated housing in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties on the Florida Panhandle. More than 50,000 people were displaced from their homes.

Results

One of the earlier signs of recovery was Johnson Lake Apartments, 160 units of affordable housing for seniors in Pensacola, a hard-hit community dating from the 1560s that is the population center for the region’s 400,000 residents. The apartments opened its doors to residents in February 2008.

In the fall of 2008 Affordable Housing Finance magazine named Johnson Lakes Apartments the top senior housing project in its 2008 readers’ choice competition. Judging criteria include social and economic impact and the project’s role community revitalization.

Johnson Lakes Apartments:

  • Undertook much-needed new construction in a hurricane-ravaged area.
  • Provides on-site activities designed to promote greater self-sufficiency among seniors and to build a sense of community.
  • Incorporated a swimming pool, gazebo and other design elements for both able and physically challenged residents.
  • Enjoys widespread community support.
  • Used multiple funding sources, including mortgage bonds and disaster-relief programs.

The apartments offer independent living for residents in a social setting among their peers—people who have gone through similar life experiences and whose futures hold similar opportunities, challenges and uncertainties.

The complex has 160 units: 80 one-bedroom, 72 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom apartments. All apartments have air conditioning and electric heat pump; ceiling fans; washer-drier hookups; new kitchen appliances, including microwave, range, refrigerator and dishwasher; pre-wiring for cable TV and Internet access; and peepholes on exterior doors. Each unit also has emergency call service, and the building has card-access entry.

In addition, apartments for special-needs residents include thermostats placed no higher than 48 inches; 36-inch-wide exterior doors with peepholes 4 feet 10 inches in height; horizontal grab bars in bathrooms; tight-napped carpeting; toggle-type switches for lights and fans; wall outlets between 18 and 48 inches above the floor; adjustable shelving in master bedroom closets, and lever-action door handles.

West Yard Lofts

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Lynn Street Lofts

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Lynn Street Lofts is a mixed-use development that brought 37 loft-style apartments for working families and street-level commercial space to the Tobacco Warehouse Historic District of Danville, Virginia.

The $6.2 million renovation is part of Danville’s economic rebound, providing top-notch housing for the city’s growing workforce while preserving the historic integrity of its past. The project is a compelling example of how an old warehouse can be converted into a new residential development.

Lynn Street Lofts feature hardwood floors, high ceilings and exposed brick and ductwork meant to preserve the building’s historic character. Lynn Street Lofts include a community room; technical learning center with computer and online access; and laundry.