Public housing redeveloped in the city

Nov. 16, 2017

It’s a new day in affordable housing for Phenix City. On Nov. 9, city officials stood side by side in the rain with public housing residents and Phenix City Housing Authority staff to break ground on Hidden Hills Trace, an 84-unit Rental Assistance Demonstration conversion project and the authority’s first revitalization attempt in its 80 year history. To make the vision a reality, PCHA partnered with Northport, Ala. developer Hollyhand Companies, Inc. who successfully secured $1.13 million in low-income housing tax credits from the Alabama Housing Finance Authority and permanent loan financing from Synovus Bank. Construction will take place over a 15-month schedule and is expected to be completed by November 2018. 

“This is a major accomplishment for the authority and a long-awaited victory for our residents,” said Mary E. Mayrose, Executive Director of the Phenix City Housing Authority. “Although it’s said it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a dedicated people to raise a village. It’s hard work and commitment that makes projects like Hidden Hills Trace possible.”

Once completed, Hidden Hills Trace will feature one, two and three bedroom units ranging from 800-1,300 square feet; a community center; playground and outdoor fitness area. Fifty of the units will be developed under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s RAD program and the remaining 30 units will be traditional Project Based Voucher Section 8 housing. The RAD conversion allows the housing authority to leverage its public and private debt and equity to reinvest in its public housing stock. 

Although off-site, Hidden Hills Trace is the first phase in the overall redevelopment of Riverview Court Apartments, which is expected to be redeveloped in multiple phases over several years. Consequently, PCHA and Hollyhand pressed forward in securing investors and private financing for the sites. In addition, to 2016 tax credits for Hidden Hills Trace, in 2017, Hollyhand secured a second allocation of $1.37 million in nine percent credits for Whitewater Village, the first on-site redevelopment component of Riverview. The back to back allocations fast tracks the authority’s effort in revitalizing its obsolete housing stock along the river. 

“We were pleasantly surprised that we were able to get credits for both phases so quickly,” said Marcella Roberts, Vice President, Holland Development, LLC. “But now the real work begins. Despite there being so many moving parts in an development, we are confident Riverview will successfully be redeveloped based on the strength of our relationship with Phenix City Housing Authority. Every project is challenging but well worth the effort - especially when you see the faces of the families when they move into their new homes.”

Founded in 1938, the mission of the Phenix City Housing Authority is to provide safe, affordable, quality housing free from discrimination, and centered on customer service, while providing opportunities for economic independence.