New affordable housing project in Hampden gets $1M boost from city

Financing for another affordable housing project in the city has come together with the approval of a $1 million loan by Baltimore’s spending panel Wednesday,

The 47-unit Flamingo Place Apartments project is planned for a small parcel of land in Hampden, located west of Falls Road and near West 40th Street. Local developer Osprey Properties Co. is behind the project, which it says will fill an affordable housing gap in the city.

Typically, those developments exist in either downtown or the east or west sides of Baltimore, said James Riggs, vice president at Osprey.

“Very few times you see affordable housing in the northwest part of the city,” he said. Riggs said the company looks forward to bringing the offering to the

In total, the apartments will cost nearly $19 million to construct, according to the latest Board of Estimates agenda. Funding comes from a variety of sources, including a $12 million loan from Bank of America, over $14 million in low-income housing tax credits, $180,225 from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and distributed by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and a $1 million HOME Investment Partnerships Program loan from the city of Baltimore.

The low-income housing tax credits are provided as equity, meaning it is paid back through a federal tax credit rather than through the value of the property. Riggs said part of what helped Flamingo Place win the credits from the state in 2018 was that the project is located in a “community of opportunity.” That designation is applied to areas where Maryland aims to encourage construction of affordable housing projects, and is determined using a number of factors including income, education, job growth and more.

Affordable housing developments are notoriously difficult to fund, especially without the help of tax credits. But such projects are something of a specialty for Osprey, Riggs said. The 30-year-old company has developed a variety of products, from office to industrial, but since the recession it has had a focus on affordable housing.

“It’s something we have become pretty good at doing and it works well for us,” he said.

And now that the HOME loan has been approved, all funding for the project has been accounted for, Riggs confirmed. He hopes to begin construction in early March and has already gotten approval from the city’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel.

Flamingo Place will be a mix of stacked townhouse units and walk-up “garden” apartments. The town homes will be a mix of two- and three-bedroom units stacked one on top of another, and some will be two-story units, Riggs said. All the “garden” units, or standard walk-up apartments, will be one-bedroom. The development will also have a shared community room with a kitchenette, central laundry facility, management office and patio area.

Commercial Construction is the general contractor on the project and and Quinn Evans Architects is the designer and architect.

The loan from the city will be used to support a portion of the construction costs for 42 of the 47 units, specifically those that will carry affordable rents. The remaining five units in the project will be listed as market-rate.

Of the affordable units;

Five will be reserved for households with incomes of 30% or less of the area median income (AMI) adjusted for family size

23 units will be for households with incomes at 50% or less of AMI

13 units will be for households with incomes at 60% or less of AMI

Eight of the affordable units will be covered by a Section 811 Rental Assistance Contract for 20 years

The project has been well-received by the Hampden community, said Eli Lopatin, president of Hampden Community Council.

“Our residents have overall been very receptive to the addition of affordable housing and the development of a long vacant site that is frequently used for dumping,” he said in an email Wednesday.

Osprey, which has offices in Annapolis and Timonium, has a number of affordable and commercial projects in the mid-Atlantic. In Baltimore, the firm was behind Rosemont Gardens Apartments in West Baltimore and Franklin Lofts & Flats in Mount Vernon. It is also in the process of converting a commercial building at 22 Light St. to affordable housing, and is behind the Walbrook Mill project in Coppin Heights.