Nantucket Lofts

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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.


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.


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.

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