Aldermen To Vote Thurs. On PILOT For Ox Fibre Apartments

It will provide affordable housing for area residents.


Frederick, Md (KM) The Frederick Board of Aldermen are  scheduled to vote on Thursday on a request for a payment in lieu of taxes from the developer of an affordable housing project in the city.

Plans by the property developer, 400 Church Owner LLC, are put to convert an 80,000 square-foot building at 400 East Church Street into 83 apartments. 51 will be one-bedroom units; 26 will be two-bedroom units; and six will be three-bedroom units. Out of these 83 units, 73 will be for persons earning 60% of the Area Median Income, and the remainder will be those earning 40% of the Area Median Income.

Under a PILOT program, the owners of the property would pay a certain amount each year which is less than the city’s property tax rate in return for providing affordable housing.

“The site plan has gone through. They’re working on their final plans for this,” says Joe Adkins, Deputy Director of Planning for the City of Frederick, who spoke to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen during a workshop last Wednesday.. “From a planning and permitting issue, there are no red flags that come up.”

In order for the project to move forward, both the City and Frederick County need to approve the payment in lieu of  taxes designation, and the County Council has already done so, says Milton Bailey, the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development. “We put  in around $445,000 worth of  impact fee exemptions, along with the PILOT which amounts $31,200 a year,” he says.

The project’s development costs are $22,900.000, according the background provided  at last week’s City Hall workshop.

The average rent at the property, known as the Ox Fibre Apartments, will be $854 for a one-bedroom unit; $1005 for a two-bedroom unit; and $1301 for a three-bedroom unit. Bailey says the average rent would be $1282 which wold provide a savings to the tenants. “Put that savings toward their savings account and or other expenses they might incur during the month. As they accumulate that savings, with the appropriate incentives associated with down payment and closing costs, they can migrate through that continuum of housing into market-rate housing,” he says.

During the workshop, Alderman Ben MacShane expressed support for the project. “This project definitely has jumped through a lot of hoops and figured out ways to bring down costs and make this project possible, reaching out in as many directions as they could, it seems like. I think it’s paid off and should a great development here in the city,” he says.


By Kevin McManus