NC closed a $10 million property acquisition and predevelopment line of credit, its largest loan ever, to help Hispanic Housing Development Corporation (HHDC), increase its impact on communities across the Midwest.
The funds will help HHDC better compete for acquisition opportunities in competitive markets where speed and certainty of closing are vital. HHDC plans to add around 200 affordable apartments to their portfolio annually, by acquiring two to four operating properties in the Chicago metro area; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Madison and lakeshore Wisconsin; and Channahon and Joliet, Illinois. These properties will have long-term affordability, with many recapitalized using LIHTC.
“NC reached out when we joined NeighborWorks America three years ago and stayed in touch. They recognize the need for capital and capital resources. Acquisition is a very important part of our business. We have fierce competition, and need to be competitive, with the ability to close in under 60 days. NC was willing to custom design a line of credit that met our needs. This line will help us grow our business. It’s our largest line of credit as well, and it helps immensely,” said Laura Selby, Executive Vice President and COO of HHDC.
“This is a large deal for us, but well within our resources,” said NC’s Chief Loan Officer, Stephen Peelor. “Not that many CDFI’s are able to even think about lending at that scale. While we are known for our smaller loans, we can do the big ones, too, and are working on similar projects with others NWOs.”
NC’s work with HHDC mirrors its work with EBALDC in Oakland, CA, a market with similar rapid gentrification, a competitive and expensive purchases, and the need for swift and nimble closing ability to continue to provide affordability.
This line of credit will allow multiple types of uses, including predevelopment funding, secured 2nd position and mezzanine financing for property acquisition, and 1st position acquisition financing. NC previously worked with HHDC on a $7 million line of credit in 2017 with narrower terms, but replaced it with this larger, more adaptable structure. Up to $7 million of the line of credit is available for property acquisitions and up to $4 million for predevelopment expenses (no more than $750,000 per project).
“This overlap is a vital feature. NC-as-lender offers maximum flexibility in the structure and use, and have demonstrated this with our borrowers,” Peelor said.
“Stephen and his division were so helpful in designing and tailoring this line of credit for our needs. They were easy to work with, the terms were generous and flexible, they were available. NC really followed up and wanted to get it done. It was important to have the flexibility, the size of the line, and be able to adapt for our use and write the terms accordingly,” Selby said.
The first five projects in HHDC’s new development pipeline will preserve affordability in the rapidly-gentrifying areas of Chicago’s West Loop, a significant cultural corridor where HHDC has historically been most active. Four of the five are new construction, and two are part of a focused effort to reduce gentrification in a majority Puerto Rican community.
“Rents are increasing significantly in Chicago and the suburbs. There has been an outflow of lower-end affordable Latino housing when developers see opportunities,” said Paul Roldan, President of HHDC. “The washing over of capital is pricing out long-term historic residents. This is why affordable housing is core to our mission, and Latino neighborhoods are a specific focus of ours, especially for ground up projects. Our work is very much needed in these neighborhoods. The ability to do this is funded by NC,” he said.
HHDC acquired three operating properties in the last five years, totaling more than 500 apartment homes.
“We are able to accommodate the requirements of other local lenders our partners work with, to fit our line of credit and collateral into existing, complex structures. We don’t come in and say, ‘do it our way!’ As a nonprofit CDFI funded with flexible capital, we can be agile and fit within the framework that a customer has set in place with local financial partners,” Peelor said.
While HHDC is relatively new to the NeighborWorks network, they are a long-standing organization in Chicago with a history of positive community impact.
HHDC was founded in 1975. Today, it is a vertically-integrated development organization, from construction capacity to property management. It has developed more than 4,100 homes and 54 properties, including multifamily rental, single-family, condominium, and commercial, including two buildings it leases to GSA/SSA. It manages all 3,800 apartments in their portfolio. Their CEO, Paul Roldan, has been with HHDC for more than 40 years.