Dare County has announced that it plans to partner with Woda Cooper Companies to develop approximately 100 essential and workforce housing units at two separate sites: the county-owned Bowsertown Road site on Roanoke Island as well as a site in Nags Head that is currently under contract by Woda Cooper.
The partnership with Woda Cooper—which marks the latest in the county’s ongoing efforts to develop affordable options for households with low to moderate incomes—is the second housing-related partnership Dare County has formed with a private developer since the beginning of the year.
Last month, the board voted unanimously to enter into a public-private partnership with Coastal Affordable Housing, a North Carolina-based consortium that plans to construct up to 400 housing units in Dare County by the end of 2023. Funding for Coastal Affordable Housing’s projects will be provided by the $35 million in nonrecurring state funds that was allocated to Dare County specifically for the purpose of making a grant to a qualified private partner to construct affordable housing units within Dare County.
Woda Cooper—which specializes in the design, construction and management of affordable housing communities throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast—plans to partner with Dare County to develop approximately 100 additional units between the two sites the company has selected. Between 40 and 60 of those 100 units will be built at the Bowsertown Road site. The remainder of the units will be constructed at the Nags Head site, which is currently under contract, although Woda Cooper has not yet disclosed its location to the public.
Dare County will contribute a maximum of $9 million toward the projects, and any additional funding that is required to construct the housing developments will be the responsibility of Woda Cooper. The company intends for both projects to be eligible for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which subsidizes the acquisition and construction of affordable housing for low-income and moderate-income households.
The Bowsertown Road and Nags Head projects will initially be owned and managed by Woda Cooper; however, the company has proposed that Dare County enter into a long-term “ground lease” for both sites, which would result in Woda Cooper turning over ownership of both structures—as well as their accompanying land—to Dare County after a specified number of years.
According to Dare County Manager Bobby Outten, this ensures that both sites will continue to be used to provide essential and workforce housing for year-round residents and seasonal employees into the distant future.
“At the end of the lease, those properties would be under Dare County’s control, so we can continue to keep them in affordable housing and whoever is sitting in our seats years from now won’t be facing the same problems that we’re facing today,” said Outten.
Woda Cooper currently owns and manages more than 400 housing communities throughout 16 states, including North Carolina and Virginia.
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