They are 83 loft apartments at the old Ox Fibre building.
Frederick, Md (KM) An 80,000 square-foot former office building is being converted into affordable housing. It will be located at the old Ox Fibre building at 400 East Church Street. “It was a paint brush factory. And it was abandoned for a while, and the Goodwill took over as an office and warehouse. Then the Goodwill moved and we bought it from them to redevelop into 83 loft rental apartments,” says Avram Fechter, the managing director of the project.
He says these apartments will be leased out at much lower rents compared to other similar-sized apartments in Frederick. “On average, our rent will be 20% less than market. So we’re saving renters in our building about $200,000 a year in rental payments that they would have to make if this were a rental property,” Fechter says.
He says this savings on the rent will allow tenants to use more of their money on other needs, such food, clothing, medicine and possibly saving for a home of their own.
These rental units are considered workforce housing, and each tenant needs to meet certain income requirements. “They can’t be making $300,000 a year. . Their income’s too high. So their income needs to be high enough to afford the rent. But low enough that they’ll qualify as 40%, 50%, 55% of are median income housing,” say Fechter.
He says pre-leasing will start in December or January, with move-in to take place in February or April, depending on when construction is completed. “There’s clearly demand. We think we’ll fill up within a month of opening our pre-leasing process,” Fechter .says.
A number of methods were used to finance the renovation of this building. “All in the $25-million development budget. And we’re using a combination of bank debt, typical mortgage financing, along tax credits equity. We using low income housing credits, historic credits,” says Fechter. “We raise some opportunity zone capital from private investors, and we got some subordinate, below-market financing from both the State of Maryland and Frederick County to help complete the capital sector.”
By Kevin McManus