Breaking ground

Construction begins on 50-unit affordable housing apartment community for seniors
Jul. 13, 2013 @ 05:29 AM

Bulldozers, dump trucks and gold shovels broke into the dirt as local, county and state officials, as well as project sponsors attended a ground-breaking ceremony to celebrate Timber Ridge, a 50-unit apartment community dedicated to serving seniors, on Friday afternoon.

The new property, which is located at the intersection of Sims Street and Railroad Avenue in Spindale, will provide affordable housing to seniors ages 55 and older.

“Spindale is proud to be the site of Timber Ridge,” said Spindale Mayor Mickey Bland. “It is great for our citizens, great for our community and great for Rutherford County.”

“We’re excited because this is a symbol of what’s coming,” said Clark Poole, director of Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. “We’ll still have challenges like we always do, but we’ve set a foundation to get past the hard times.”

Scheduled to open in the spring of 2014, Timber Ridge will feature a mixture of 26 one bedroom and 24 two bedroom apartments in single story duplexes designed by Tise Kiester Architects.

The homes will have a craftsmen style design and will incorporate energy efficient features such as Energy Star-rated kitchen appliances and high-efficiency heating and air conditioning units.

Each apartment will have its own individual front and rear entrance and parking will be conveniently located in front of each unit.

All units will also have a covered front porch and a rear patio area.

In addition to the apartments, the property will include a community building with a manager’s office and meeting room, library and computer lab, laundry room, activity room, outdoor picnic shelter and large community garden.

In order to qualify for an apartment, residents must have an annual income below 60 percent of the median income for Rutherford County, which currently is $22,020 for a single person household and $25,140 for a two person household.

“This is a great project for our community and Rutherford County always needs more affordable housing,” said Rutherford County Commission Chairman Julius Owens.

Two non-profit organizations partnered to bring the affordable housing to Spindale, including Wesley Community Development Corporation (WCDC) and The Affordable Housing Group (TAHG) of North Carolina, Inc.

WCDC has been building affordable low-income housing since 2002 as a non-profit outreach ministry of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“We found this site in Spindale in the fall of 2011, and it’s a beautiful site for housing,” said Roy Helm, president of WCDC.

The non-profit’s objective is to not only build quality homes that are affordable for low-income families and individuals to purchase, but build homes that are energy efficient and can be economically maintained afterwards.

“Requirements for these types of properties include close access to shopping and we like them to be on a good traffic road with high visibility. Timber Ridge is also nearby the Spindale walking trails, which will be good for seniors,” Helm said. “Our experience over the last two years in this area has been great — we couldn’t ask for a better place to be building.”

Joining in the Timber Ridge project, TAHG has been working since 1966 to enable and encourage affordable housing through education and training, technical assistance to other organizations, and the development, ownership and management of affordable housing.

“We are very pleased to be here in Spindale, and the local folks have been very appreciative and supportive of what we are doing,” said Kathy Stilwell, executive director of TAHG. “When we look for sites on which to build, we look for good access to amenities like groceries and shopping. This site is a good location because there is a large need and demand for this affordable senior housing here.”

TAHG has 21 existing properties totaling 775 apartment homes.

Upon the completion of Timber Ridge and another separate property TAHG and WCDC are currently building in Mocksville, the number of apartment homes will total 875.

“Thirty-five jobs have been created with the building of this property and it will be a beautiful site for years to come,” Stilwell said.

The general contractor for the Timber Ridge project is Coach Construction of Lake Lure, and funding is being provided through The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, Community Affordable Housing Equity Corporation and TD Bank.

TD Bank provided nearly $6 million total in tax credit equity and construction financing for the project.

The bank will serve as the investor to make available the needed equity to fund construction.

“I started my banking career here and I’ve always had an affinity for Rutherford County,” said Arthur “Chip” Morris of TD Bank. “TD Bank is committed to helping provide affordable housing, and projects like this is exactly what we like to do.”

Leasing will commence at Timber Ridge in the fourth quarter of 2013.

For additional information about Timber Ridge Apartments, or to be placed on a waiting list for an application, contact Excel Property Management at (919) 878-0522.

“We all like to see the finished products and the ribbon cuttings, but this ground-breaking is really what the story is all about,” said Steve Evans of the North Carolina Housing Finance Authority. “This is about creating jobs and providing affordable housing. It is about economic development and vitality of our rural communities.”