Proposed Fishers workforce housing project misses out on tax credits

A Fishers-based developer’s $14 million proposal to build "workforce" housing in downtown Fishers has been passed over for housing tax credits that would have helped finance the project, leaving its future unclear. 

RealAmerica Development LLC, a Fishers-based residential and commercial developer, had applied for $1.2 million of rental housing tax credits through the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority.

RealAmerica was among 50 developers that submitted applications to the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority seeking a total of about $47.5 million in federal assistance for various projects across the state.

The federal credits are awarded annually to developers to incentivize private investment in affordable housing. Investors buy the credits, generating revenue to fund projects.

Nineteen projects were awarded a combined $17.6 million. Just three are located in the Indianapolis area: TWG Development LLC was awarded $1 million for its project at 1142 Southeastern Ave., where it will build 63 income-based apartments; Partners in Housing Development Corp. was awarded $1.2 million to rehabilitate a 106-unit apartment complex called Colonial Park; and Vision Communities Inc. was awarded $978,000 to redevelop the former United Way building at 3901 N. Meridian St. into 60 income-based units.

RealAmerica announced in July that it planned to build a 70-unit apartment complex at Lantern Road and Appel Drive, near Fishers Elementary School and the Heritage Meadows subdivision. The site is across Interstate 69 from the Ikea store.

RealAmerica Vice President of Development Jeff Ryan told IBJ the tax credits were imperative to building the project as planned. Now, the developer is regrouping to determine its next steps, he said.

“We’ll have to go back and see if it’s worth submitting another application (for the tax credits) or doing something else,” he said. “We just don’t know at this point.”

As originally planned, the project would have included 70 one- or two-bedroom units for rent to residents that earn less than 60 percent of the area’s median income. The median household income in Fishers in 2016 was $97,100, according to the U.S. Census. Median gross rent for the same time period was $1,133 per month.

The developer has built affordable apartment developments across Indiana and in Colorado, but the project in Fishers would have been its first in Hamilton County. Hamilton County in general sees very little development of affordable housing projects.

The city of Fishers had agreed to waive up to $100,000 of city fees that would be associated with constructing the project, including impact, location improvement and building permit fees, as city leaders anticipated the project would provide affordable housing to workers who don't make enough money to live in Fishers.

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