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New affordable housing stock to come on line in Stamford’s South End

January 17, 2019

STAMFORD — A different form of affordable housing will be coming to the South End after the Zoning Board recently signed off on a $1 million payment to the Housing Development Fund.

The million dollars, part of controversial buyout pitch from developer Building and Land Technology, will buy HDF one three-family home and another four-family structure in the neighborhood, said Joan Carty, HDF’s president and chief executive officer. The nonprofit will also have money left over to buy another three-family home and rehabilitate all three. The apartments will be restricted by land-deed to house only those making 50 percent or less of the area’s median income.

The fund also used the million to entice the state Bonding Commission to award the program another $750,000.

The additional money proved necessary after HDF “realized we would need additional subsidy because of the rehab requirements on any properties that we looked at,” Carty said.

Carty earned praise from Zoning Board members for her work.

“I’m amazed how quick this is all happening,” said member Bill Morris. “I’m impressed.”

The commendations proved a far cry from earlier hearings on BLT and HDF’s initial pitch. At those meetings, in which BLT wanted to buy out of its entire obligation to include affordable units in two new Harbor Point towers, the plan prompted consternation from civic leaders and concerns from the Zoning and Planning boards.

BLT had hoped to give HDF more than $8 million instead of installing a required 44 affordable units in the new towers, but the Zoning Board only allowed a portion of the buyout, requiring the builder to keep 17 units in the new buildings affordable.

After hearing resident concerns that BLT was angling to demolish other historic multi-family homes it owns on Henry and Garden streets, the board also required that the builder renovate and lease units in those four properties to low-income people.

Still, even with only an eighth of what HDF had hoped for from BLT, Carty said the program will work and 10 affordable units will soon come on line in the South End.

The local nonprofit will also “finance some of the rehab ourselves with other funds that we have at our disposal,” she said. “We’re leveraging your funding more than two to one.”

A program update before the board has been tentatively slated for early May

Zoning Chair David Stein said more money could be going to program.

“If things go well, there may be more funds,” he said.

barry.lytton@stamfordadvocate.com; 203-964-2263; @bglytton

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