Developers Close on Walnut Village Project Financing

Press Release

COOKVILLE, Tenn. (May 17, 2019) – Officials with Highlands Residential Services (HRS), Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) and LHP Capital, LLC announced today that they have closed on financing for the renovation of Walnut Village’s 80 rental homes for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

HRS Executive Director Dow Harris said that with the funding now in place, the estimated $5 million in renovations will begin in mid-May. HRS is working with LHP Capital of Knoxville to redevelop the apartments while preserving their affordability status under federal guidelines. HRS will continue to own and manage the apartments.

“This is good news for our community and the residents of Walnut Village, and we’re very, very excited,” Harris said. “This redevelopment will not only modernize the apartments to make them more appealing, energy efficient, safe and accessible for residents today, but will ensure they serve as a quality affordable housing resource for many years to come.”

About $55,000 will be spent remodeling each unit, according to Alvin Nance, CEO, LHP Development and Craig Cobb, Vice President, LHP Development.

“This is going to improve the quality of life for the senior citizens and create a better living environment for every resident,” said Nance.“Affordable housing is the foundation for a strong community and at LHP we see projects like Walnut Village completely transform a neighborhood.”

Extensive renovations of each unit include installation of new kitchen cabinets and countertops as well as new Energy Star-rated appliances including refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher. The bathroom will be updated with new tile flooring, modern vanity with cultured marble top and water saving features and low-flow toilet. Luxury vinyl plank wood-look flooring, energy efficient lighting and new paint will be installed throughout.Each apartment will be equipped with a new clothes washer and dryer, an amenity previously not provided.

Property renovations include a new roof, new HVAC, window and door replacement, new Hardi-board siding, and a new parking lot.The property’s community room will undergo a facelift similar to the units and will be refurnished adding a computer lab for resident use.

The renovation of Walnut Village will be financed in part with $7 million in Tax Exempt Multi-Family Bond Authority and a $528,976 Low Income Housing Tax Credit allocation from THDA. That tax credit allocation, provided approximately $4.8 million in equity capital through First Tennessee Housing Corporation in its role as Investor Limited Partner.

“THDA is proud to be a partner in projects like this that provide much needed, quality, affordable housing in this community,” said THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey. “Investing Bond Authority and Housing Credits in the renovation of Walnut Village will help to safeguard a high quality of life for the people who live here.”

The Bond Authority and the Housing Credit programs were created to help private sector developers finance the construction or preservation of affordable rental housing. In exchange for using Bond Authority and Housing Credit financing to help cover construction costs, apartment communities must keep rent affordable to elderly and disabled residents of Cookeville who make 50-60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) or less. In Tennessee, the Bond Authority and the Housing Credit programs are administered by THDA.

The financing for the project also includes a $5.8 million HUD FHA 221(d)(4) mortgage originated by Walker & Dunlop LLC.

A Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) approved by the City of Cookeville was also key to securing financing, said Harris.

“We are fortunate to have public and private partners who support this effort to provide quality housing for our community’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Harris.“On behalf of the HRS Board of Commissioners, I want to personally thank Mayor Ricky Shelton; all Cookeville City Council members and Cookeville City Manager Mike Davidson for their support of this project.”

The contractor for the project is Blaine Construction and the renovation estimated completion date is April 2020. The Walnut Village renovation is phase one of HRS’s long-term strategic plan to improve the availability of quality housing opportunities for families and senior citizens with limited incomes