Greystone and WWJ Celebrate Grand Reopening of 10 Affordable Housing Communities with Ribbon-Cutting Event at Historic Colonial Lodge in Warrenton, North Carolina
October 9, 2019
Local, State, and National Officials and Residents Celebrate Preservation of Crucial Low-Income Housing and Importance of LIHTC Program
Greystone Affordable Development and WWJ, LLC, celebrated the grand reopening of affordable housing communities across nine North Carolina counties with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted at the historic Colonial Lodge in Warrenton, North Carolina. The $55.8 million tax-exempt bond transaction substantially renovated 10 USDA Rural Development Section 515 properties, comprising 440 aging and at-risk affordable multifamily housing units.
In its third statewide-pooled transaction in North Carolina, Greystone’s affordable housing development group worked closely with USDA’s Rural Housing Service (RHS) State and National Offices and the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to coordinate and secure the financing needed to acquire and rehabilitate this much needed housing. Members of each agency attended the event, along with representation from CAHEC, the equity investor.
This is Greystone’s 12th collaboration with Columbia, SC-based WWJ, LLC, one of the largest owners and operators of affordable housing in the southeastern US, with 23 properties in North Carolina alone. Together, Greystone Affordable Development and WWJ have preserved over 6,000 affordable housing units to date, using the model they jointly pioneered over a decade ago. “The long-standing partnership with WWJ has been invaluable throughout the years as we trailblazed this innovative approach to large scale preservation together,” said Tanya Eastwood, President and CEO of Greystone Affordable Development.
The construction process for all 10 properties was completed in only 11 months, during which no residents were permanently displaced. Substantial renovations, averaging approximately $36,000 per unit for interior and exterior improvements, included new HVAC systems, kitchen appliances, plumbing, and aesthetic updates. The project focused on bringing all the properties up to modern standards by addressing accessibility, functional obsolescence, and deterioration. Two of the properties, built in the 1920s, are historic, with the remaining properties constructed in the 1980s. All had a crucial need for rehabilitation and modernization in order to remain viable housing options for the markets they serve.
During the ribbon-cutting event, attendees toured the renovated Colonial Lodge property, which originally opened in 1922 as the Hotel Warren. Distinguished speakers and attendees at the event included:
- Amie Cofini, Senior Vice President of Development, Greystone Affordable Development
- Joe Wilczewski, Vice President of Finance, WWJ, LLC/Boyd Management
- Barbara Jaco, Vice President of Management, WWJ, LLC/Boyd Management
- Byron Waters, Multi-Family Housing Program Director, North Carolina State Office, USDA Rural Development
- Paul S. Jaber, Board of Directors, North Carolina Housing Finance Agency
- Dana Boole, President & CEO, CAHEC
- Betty Jo Shepheard, Eastern Regional Field Representative, U.S. Senator Richard Burr
- Representative Terry E. Garrison, North Carolina Representative, House District 32
- Walter M. Gardner, Jr., Mayor, Town of Warrenton, NC
“Preserving 440 at-risk affordable apartment homes across the state of North Carolina required the deep commitment and shared vision of our development team, investment partners, and two North Carolina housing agencies (USDA Rural Development and North Carolina Housing Finance Agency). We are incredibly thankful to everyone who came together once again with a shared passion and dedication to meeting the challenges of this major undertaking,” continued Ms. Eastwood. “The tax-exempt bond structure and 4% housing tax credits were critical to the financial feasibility of the multifaceted project; and this much needed affordable housing, now preserved, will undoubtedly transform lives and communities for years to come.”
“After preserving apartment communities for over a decade, we simply cannot overstate the importance of programs such as USDA’s Section 515 debt platform,” said Joe Wilczewski, Vice President of Finance, WWJ, LLC/Boyd Management. “The joy on our residents’ faces and the pride in their newly renovated homes resonate through our communities every day and speak volumes about their impact. We thank all of our partners for bringing this worthy preservation project to life.”
“We are pleased that WWJ continues to be successful on its quest for the sustainable, responsible preservation of its affordable housing stock in North Carolina,” said Robert Hosford, State Director of North Carolina, USDA Rural Housing Service.“Once again, the results speak for themselves – the collaboration is successful because of the single-minded focus and commitment of all parties involved – and more rural housing has been preserved for generations to come.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of this innovative transaction that enabled existing affordable housing to be preserved and as a result, residents’ lives to be improved,” said Dana Boole, President and CEO, CAHEC. “This transaction demonstrates how public and private partners can successfully come together on complex financial transactions to directly and dramatically impact the lives of those in need in our community.”