Project to offer affordable housing

By: By Brandon Tester - Staff writer
Construction crews work on the future site of Griffin Park Apartments on Roberts Avenue in Lumberton. The project is expcected to be completed this fall.

LUMBERTON — Customers at Aaron’s Furniture on Roberts Avenue will be greeted by the sounds of construction for the next few months.

An eight-acre lot behind the business soon will be the home of a 72-unit apartment complex.

Griffin Park Apartments, which will include eight one-bedroom units, 34 two-bedroom units and 30 three-bedroom units, is in the early stages of construction. Mark Morgan, president of property developer MC Morgan & Associates, said the complex should be completed this fall.

“Nothing has changed from what we originally started with,” Morgan said in reference to the construction plan, which was approved by Lumberton City Council in May 2016.

The complex, which includes four two-story buildings, will be open to residents earning $18,000 to $34,000 a year. The developer will receive a tax credit for providing affordable housing, although the property is not labeled as public housing.

Eight of the units will be handicap accessible.

A $300,000 investment from the North Carolina Community Development Initiative, which works alongside the North Carolina Housing Initiative, helped fund the project’s pre-development stages. The North Carolina Community Development Initiative aims to improve the state’s “most challenged communities,” according to the organization’s website.

That contribution, which consists of a $150,000 loan and a grant for the same amount, came at a crucial time in the development process.

After being awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the project in August 2016, the developer faced an issue that affected many of its counterparts across the country. Volatility in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit market caused equity pricing to decrease by about 20 percent nationally, causing some projects to be short on funds.

The North Carolina Community Development Initiative made its contribution not only to help the developer withstand that turbulence, but also to help establish new affordable housing options in the city. Many existing housing options were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.

Morgan said the investment was “instrumental” for the development process.

The new development costs roughly $9.2 million to build and will take in about 144 tenants, according to the North Carolina Community Development Initiative. It will be within walking distance of many restaurants and shops on Roberts Avenue, Elizabethtown Road and Fayetteville Road. The property also is located within a mile of Biggs Park Mall.

Section 8 applicants will be considered when applications for the apartments become available. A credit and criminal background check will be required for all applicants.

A full-time manager and maintenance staff will be employed at the development.

Construction crews work on the future site of Griffin Park Apartments on Roberts Avenue in Lumberton. The project is expcected to be completed this fall.
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/web1_Griffin-park201828164314572-1.jpgConstruction crews work on the future site of Griffin Park Apartments on Roberts Avenue in Lumberton. The project is expcected to be completed this fall.

By Brandon Tester

Staff writer

Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected]

Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected]