San Juan Affordable Housing Site to be Transformed into New Vibrant Mixed-Income/Mixed-Use Community

December 8, 2016 | McCormack Baron Salazar

The Puerto Rico Department of Housing and housing developer McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. announce the closing of the financing on the next major milestone in Puerto Rico’s affordable housing transformation effort. This public/private partnership leveraged public funding with private investment to revitalize an affordable housing site near the Old San Juan Historic District. In total, the partnership will invest $41.3 million of public and private funding in the community.

“Redeveloping this site is an important milestone in the Department of Housing’s strategic plan to create thriving neighborhoods that provide opportunities for our families and spur reinvestment in the surrounding community,” said Puerto Rico Department of Housing Secretary Alberto Lastra Power. “We are working to connect these new affordable housing communities with the broader neighborhood so our residents have enhanced access to schools, jobs, transportation and recreation.

The development will result in the construction of 174 new apartment homes, including walk-up flats, townhouses and one elevator-served building. 78 percent of the homes will be restricted to households earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income (including some public housing subsidized units) with the remaining 22 percent available to market-rate residents. The development also includes 6,000 square feet of commercial space, a 3,300 square foot management office and community space, which includes a fitness room, a business center and community gathering area. The site is within walking distance of the Bahía Urbana revitalization initiative along the San Juan Bay waterfront.

“The Bahía Urbana master plan, as it gets implemented through the next decade, will bring significant investment to this area of San Juan,” explained Daniel Acosta, Senior Vice President and Project Manager with McCormack Baron Salazar. “This development will help catalyze those investments while at the same time ensuring that lower-income families get to benefit from and enjoy the planned improvements.”

Plans for the site also include amenities and site improvements associated with market rate developments, including walking trails, “tot lots” (playgrounds), community gardens, landscaping, site lighting, and controlled parking and building access. The site also enjoys access to transit through the high-speed bus line on Calle del Tren and is within walking distance to schools.

This development is the second in setting a new standard for future affordable housing revitalization initiatives on the island. The first, in the heart of the San Juan Business District, began construction in August 2016. These projects incorporate a public/private financial structure that leverages private dollars with public investment. The $41.3 million project includes $27.8 million in private equity provided by Alden Capital Partners and Citibank, N.A. through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program administered by the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority and $13.5 million from the Puerto Rico Department of Housing through funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Citi Community Capital is providing a construction loan.  

Throughout the process the Puerto Rico Department of Housing has been assisted by CVR Associates, a national affordable housing consulting firm, who are serving as development consultants. Planning and architectural services are provided by Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. The general contractor for the redevelopment effort is F&R Construction Group. Construction has begun and completion is anticipated in the fall of 2018.