$3.5B Divided 76 Ways Can Remake Neighborhoods
The Community Builders, a Boston-based nonprofit that works to strengthen neighborhoods nationwide by producing affordable and mixed-income housing, just got a $40M boost in the form of tax credits it will give out to other investors.
TCB is one of 76 community development groups around the country awarded some of the $3.5B distributed by the US Treasury as New Market Tax Credits on Monday, much to the delight of CEO Bart Mitchell (above). TCB will act as a financial institution, disbursing its $40M as federal tax credits to developers who are improving neighborhoods where TCB has or will be doing residential development by introducing non-housing amenities: a supermarket in an urban food desert or a health center in an underserved area.
Such investments will bring vital services and create jobs in the 70 neighborhoods in 30 states where TCB has been working. TCB, which has a $1.5B multifamily development pipeline, previously won two, $25M NMTC grants. Some of those funds were invested into the new $120M Bruce Bolling Municipal Building in Boston’s Dudley Square. The idea is to revitalize the neighborhood by introducing new services and more commercial activity. In Dudley, for instance, the Boston School Department did a relo from downtown earlier this year, bringing hundreds of employees into an area where poverty is common.
Financing the revitalization of urban areas complements TCB's efforts to do mixed-use/mixed-income—rather than all affordable—housing development, Bart says. Bringing in more activity, and redeveloping abandoned or underused property, attracts new residents and businesses. TCB allocated some New Market Tax Credits to redevelop the old Worcester Telegram & Gazette building (above) into an innovation center completed Q4 ’14. Tenants in the new building include: Quinsigamond Community College, a small business incubator and some tech startups. That may help raise Worcester’s profile as a new live/work/play location.
The hot multifamily market has also helped attract more investors to areas where TCB has been pioneering for decades. More people, more stores, more investors, help create demand for market rate housing, Bart tells us. He expects to soon start a new mixed-income development in Forest Hills near the T-stop to be developed by TCB and Urbanica with about 75 rental apartments and 50 ownership homes. Meanwhile, TCB’s Rhianna Trefry, Morgan Wilson and Tom Buonopane (above) will help the nonprofit allocate the tax credits across the country. The first awards could start this summer and will extend over the next year or two, Bart says.