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Affordable Housing Gets State Funds

Construction to start in the spring

 

By Julie Scharnberg

As reported in the March 2016 issue of Norfolk Now, the Foundation for Norfolk Living (FNL) was poised to move ahead with a formal closing in order to access the $2.99 million in state grant funds and anticipated a spring 2016 start date for construction.  After a two-year application process and another year waiting for the state bond to be approved, scheduling the closing seemed like a simple detail.

But as the weather warmed, and month after month slipped by with the status invariably reported as “closing in a couple weeks,” FNL began to consider contingency plans for a fall construction start date.  The multi-page state closing checklist is intimidating and is a clear indication of how complicated the paperwork is for both sides. That, together with an overburdened staff at the Department of Housing, made for a tense spring, summer and fall waiting for word of the elusive closing date.

FNL seriously considered starting construction in the fall, so footers would be in the ground for the planned addition to 40 Greenwoods Road West before the ground froze and contractors could proceed with the extensive interior renovation work at all three FNL properties over the winter months. If the weather in late 2016 had been as mild as it was in late 2015, that would have happened.  However, that plan was buried under about eight inches of snow as winter abruptly descended. As a result, it was deemed prudent to wait for the formal closing with the state and then set the construction start date.

FNL submitted a request in early 2016 to include all three of its properties in Norfolk’s local historic district, which would allow the project to qualify for state historic rehabilitation tax credits.  The process of adding the properties to the historic district was complete by August 2016, and the tax credits were sold to Eversource for $320,000.  According to its website, Eversource Connecticut participates in three different Connectucut tax credit programs.  Over the past 16 years, Eversource Connecticut has contributed about $110 million to affordable housing projects through the purchase of historic tax credits.

The FNL board was thrilled to hear at its December 2016 meeting that the state grant closing had finally taken place in early December.  With winter settled in for the season, the contractors were informed that their start date would be in the spring.  Construction is expected to take about eight months.

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