Only one of the six proposed affordable housing developments for Frederick County received the state tax credits needed to move forward.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development announced the recipients of 9 percent tax credits, given to affordable housing developments so that apartments can be offered at below-market rates, at the end of July.
Of the six projects proposed for Frederick County, including Brunswick’s Railroad Square, only one received the tax credits. Without these credits, it is nearly impossible for these projects to be built, said Bruce Zavos, an architect with Zavos Architecture and Design. Zavos also sits on the county’s Affordable Housing Council.
“I’m just disappointed,” he said.
The tax credits are highly competitive, he said. Only 15 projects across the state received the credits, out of 46 applicants.
The upside is that one complex, South Street Centre, did receive the tax credits and can move forward, he said.
South Street Centre is a combination of senior housing and affordable housing units. It should bring 150 units, 96 of which will be for seniors, said Angie Liddiard, director of economic development for the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick.
“It’s a great project,” Liddiard said.
She was happy the project submitted by the Housing Authority received the tax credits. The goal is to start construction at the end of next year.
But Liddiard also knows that 150 units is a drop in the bucket when it comes to affordable housing, a sentiment echoed by Zavos. There is an unmet need of about 5,720 affordable housing units, he said.
“Two hundred units, plus or minus, is great, but the need is greater than 200 units a year,” Zavos said.
The majority of the proposed projects were in the city of Frederick, according to the list of applications. One of the five that did not receive tax credits was Brunswick’s proposed Railroad Square development.
That Railroad Square did not get the tax credits surprised Milton Bailey, director of Frederick County’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
He is disappointed that only one project received the tax credits.
He has yet to find out more about why the other five projects were not granted the tax credits.
Developers working on affordable housing projects are persistent, Bailey said, and they do not easily abandon projects.
Developers, he said, might be looking at other ways to pursue the developments, including applying for 4 percent tax credits that can be used for rehabilitation projects or those funded by tax-exempt bonds.
The two tax credit options — 4 percent and 9 percent — cannot be used together, Bailey said.
Other projects might wait and try again during the next cycle of applications for the 9 percent tax credits.