By KTVZ news sourcesSeptember 28, 2020 8:47 pm

Published  2:24 pm

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Wishcamper Development Partners announced Monday it has closed on more than $51 million in financing to build the Stillwater Crossing Apartments, a 240-unit affordable housing community in southern Bend to serve working families and individuals.

Planning for the project began in 2019, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic that impacted many municipalities, businesses, and financial institutions, close collaboration between Wishcamper, the city of Bend and Oregon Housing and Community Services enabled the project to move forward and close on schedule, the developers said in Monday’s announcement, which continues in full below:

“I want to thank Lynne McConnell and the City of Bend for their incredible hard work and steadfast dedication to get this project closed, despite all of the challenges we have faced over the past several months,” said Tyson O’Connell, a principal with Wishcamper.

“Simply put, this project would not have gone forward without Bend’s commitment to affordable housing, which among many other positives, resulted in a waiver of SDC (system development charge) fees, property tax abatement, density bonus, and subordinate loans,” O’Connell said. “New affordable housing projects are incredibly difficult and complex to bring online, and I’ve never worked with a city that understands and responds to the challenges like Bend did for Stillwater Crossing.”

The Project

The $51.6 million project will break ground this month. It is located north of Ponderosa Street along Atwood Drive, which runs parallel and just to the west of Highway 97.

Offering one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, Stillwater provides much-needed housing for working families and individuals who earn less than 60% of local area median income.

The community will include an approximately 5,000-square-foot community building that will house a flexible recreational space, fitness center, kitchen facilities, and community room where free onsite resident services will be provided to residents and available to the surrounding community.

Residents also will be able to take advantage of the exterior amenities which include a large splash pad, picnic and BBQ areas, community gardens, and covered bike storage.

“We’re very proud to provide affordable housing with these fantastic amenities and services to the community of Bend.” O’Connell said.  

Noteworthy

  • Almost all affordable housing in Oregon over the recent past is made possible through large allocations of scarce and competitive grants and/or subordinate loans.

    These funding sources, which primarily are Metro Housing Bonds, the OHCS LIFT Program, and 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, typically fund 20%-70% of total project costs.

    Fletcher Ray, a native of Portland and Principal with Wishcamper, said, “We very much wanted to undertake a demonstration project in Oregon that did not utilize large amounts of competitive and scarce funding resources.

    “Stillwater received subordinate loans from the City of Bend, which were critical, but only equated to 2.2% of the project’s total cost.

    “I’m very pleased that we were able to bring this project to market with less than 3% of the total cost funded with scarce resources, without the benefit of it being located in a qualified census tract, while sacrificing nothing regarding the quality of the product or services we’ll offer residents. It’s been a goal of ours from the beginning and I hope it’s the first of many.”
  • Stillwater has achieved 30.8% participation from MWESB (Minority, Women, and Emerging Small Business firms) sub-contractors and professional services providers, making it one of the few projects in Oregon to ever achieve such a milestone.

    Justin Metcalf, president of Wishcamper, said, “Alongside our unique sub-contractor procurement methods, our MWESB outreach partnership with Professional Business Development Group was a critical component to our success in reaching over thirty-percent MWESB participation.

    “I can’t say enough good things about Kenechi (Executive Director) and their organization, we’re thrilled to have them as a partner. We’re looking forward to continuing our outreach efforts to ensure the housing opportunity is inclusive and available to everyone who calls Bend home.”  
  • Stillwater incorporates sustainable construction best practices, with an emphasis on energy and water conservation, and will achieve Earth Advantage Multifamily Certification for healthy built environments.

The Developer

Wishcamper Development Partner’s principals have over 80 years of combined experience across 23 states; having developed or redeveloped over 15,000 units of affordable apartment housing since the early 1970’s.

Today, Wishcamper’s development footprint resides in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rocky Mountain Region, with offices in their home states of Portland, Oregon and Missoula, Montana.

Metcalf added, “Closing Stillwater is monumental for us. It’s the first project to break ground stemming from our efforts in early 2019, when my partners and I drove to every corner and region of Oregon to find the communities with the highest need for affordable housing, and where our projects would have the most impact.

“Stillwater is one of four new construction projects that we’re currently developing in Oregon. Our other projects are in Roseburg, Woodburn, and Beaverton. We’re honored to be taking part in providing inclusive housing for Oregonians that is physically indistinguishable from market-rate apartments, and each dedicated to providing robust and tailored resident services.

“Going forward, Oregon will continue to be where our new construction development model is focused.”  

Facts & Details

  • Project funding: $200K grant from OHCS Multifamily Energy Program + additional energy incentives provided through Energy Trust of Oregon; $400K loan from the City of Bend Housing Trust Fund; $750K loan from the City of Bend Urban Renewal Agency; $4M provided by Wishcamper; $12.3M in 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits syndicated by Boston Financial Investment Management and purchased by Freddie Mac; and $33.8M in construction-to-perm debt financing from CITI Community Capital.
  • Construction will begin in September of 2020, with units scheduled for initial occupancy in July 2021 and fully occupied by May 2022.
  • 100% of the units are designated as affordable housing with income set-asides at 60% local area median income.
  • A groundbreaking ceremony is currently scheduled for October 21st on-site (please contact Lynne McConnell at the City of Bend).

Wishcamper spokesman Justin Metcalf said the rents will be based on the area media income levels, as published annually by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, less a utility allowance.

This year, that equates to $820 a month rent for the 42 one-bedroom units, $980 for the 170 two-bedroom units and $1,131 for the 28 three-bedroom units, based on 2020 figures.

While the HUD figures are revised annually, Metcalf said little change is expected due to this year’s pandemic-related economic downturn.


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