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WHEDA grants support future senior living apartments

Representatives of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, the city of River Falls, and the Gerrard Corporation are shown outside City Hall last Friday, as the Gerrard Corporation was awarded state tax credits by WHEDA. From left are: Peter Gerrard, President, The Gerrard Corporation; George Petak, Business and Community Engagement Officer, WHEDA; Paul Gerrard, Vice President, The Gerrard Corporation; and Mayor Dan Toland. Photo courtesy of the city of River Falls.1 / 2
Paul Gerrard, vice president of Gerrard Corporation/Gerrard Companies is shown speaking at an event held Friday, Aug. 31. Gerrard Companies has been awarded state tax credits to help build an affordable senior living facility. Photos courtesy of the city of River Falls. 2 / 2

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) recently awarded State Housing Tax Credits to The Depot at 300 River St., a multifamily development in River Falls. The tax credits, distributed by WHEDA, will help create 50 units of affordable senior rental housing.

Located near City Hall, the Depot will go up where the old train depot used to stand.

The Depot is being developed by the Gerrard Corporation, which received $351,824 in state tax credits.

"We are so pleased that the city of River Falls has trust in our track record to bring high-quality, affordable housing to the city," said Paul Gerrard, vice president of Gerrard Corporation. "Partnerships with the city and others are what make these developments successful. WHEDA's ongoing efforts to make projects like The Depot financially feasible due to the tax credits are critical. And, we are also fortunate to have a long-standing partnership with West CAP. They will provide onsite services for residents at The Depot."

Gerrard said Gerrard Corporation is working through the city's approval process, which includes several plan commission and council meetings, and more, as well as negotiating a development agreement with the city.

Gerrard said this is partially because some overhead power lines on the Depot site would need to be moved, and some sewer work would need to be done as well.

"We have been pleased to work with Paul and Peter Gerrard to create a plan for this site, which will provide much-needed affordable senior housing in our city," said River Falls City Administrator Scot Simpson. "The tax credits from WHEDA will go a long way toward making this project a reality. We thank them for choosing to make this investment in River Falls and look forward to our continued partnership."

Once completed, The Depot will offer some limited services to its residents. Gerrard said amenities will include: parking; heat, hot water, sewer and water, and internet provided by the landlord; a washer and dryer, disposal, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, stove, mini blinds, walk-in pantries and walk-in closets in each apartment; radiant heat in the floors, controlled by each individual apartment's resident(s), and more.

The Depot would also include some community spaces, including a fully furnished community room on the first floor, as well as sundeck-type areas, and library/puzzle room space as well.

Gerrard said, provided all city approvals go through, work will likely begin next spring. The development would be marketed starting in December 2019, and would open up about April 2020.

Gerrard said rent will range from $450 to $1,095 per month. The same legislation that created the tax credits will also allow The Depot to rent to some people whose income is as much as 80 percent of the median income. This is because the regulations are now based on the average of the incomes of all the residents in one building, as opposed to being based on the residents of one apartment in a building.

"The new state tax credit program is tremendous news for River Falls and the rest of the Wisconsin," said WHEDA COO Brian Schimming. "The tax incentive for private investment in the development and preservation of affordable housing is critical for our economy as it spurs construction jobs and reduces rental cost burdens for Wisconsin residents."

The Depot was one of 15 applications for state tax credits WHEDA received this year. Those requests totalled about $10.4 million. WHEDA had a total of about $7 million available.

The tax credits are awarded over a six-year period. This year's allocations will generate almost $40 million in credits over that time.

In exchange for receiving the state tax credits, developers agree to reserve a portion of their housing units for low- and moderate-income households for at least 30 years. Remaining units are rented at market rates to seniors and families without income limits.

The state tax credits will help finance affordable housing units in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Fitchburg, Green Bay, Pleasant Prairie, River Falls, Sheboygan and Superior.

WHEDA also administers federal housing tax credits. The new state tax credit program will be matched with $6.6 million in federal 4 percent tax credits increasing the leverage and enabling more affordable housing across the state. Overall, the new state program will generate $191 million in total development.

Tax credit developments must meet high design and operating standards. Criteria include strong management, excellent development quality, demonstrated market need, provision of services and amenities, proper local zoning and permits and service to households at various income levels.

Visit www.wheda.com for a complete listing of 2018 State Housing Tax Credit awards.

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