Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC Invests $2.2 Million to Purchase 34 Units in the Shaw Neighborhood to Help Sustain Affordability- Financial services firm TIAA provides $200,000 in support
The near South St. Louis City neighborhood of Shaw, after 30 years of strategic redevelopment, has blossomed into one of the most desirable places to live in the region. As a result, rents are increasing and properties are selling within days of being on the market. Through an intensive community engagement effort and neighborhood analysis in 2014, Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (TGNCDC) completed the framework and vision plan for the Shaw, Tower Grove South and Southwest Garden neighborhoods. In Shaw, goals were created to focus capacity on neighborhood housing, specifically quality and affordable housing on Shaw Boulevard and De Tonty Street. These areas have traditionally been less desirable to developers given their close proximity to the highway.
To meet these goals with an innovative approach, Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation (TGNCDC), in partnership with financial services firm TIAA1, recently purchased $2.2 million of real estate totaling 34 units in 10 buildings. TIAA provided a $200,000 grant, 30-year amortization and competitive interest rate to reduce TGNCDC’s down-payment requirement and to help increase cash flow to financially sustain the organization, which is challenged with decreasing grant funding. TGNCDC has a goal with TIAA to keep units affordable for 80 percent of new tenants who meet income guidelines of 80 percent to median or less.
TGNCDC Board President Janice Drake said, “Our TGNCDC board is excited about offering apartments at a moderate price to counter the rising market rate in the Shaw neighborhood. This opportunity to sustain affordability would not be a reality without the generous $200,000 grant from TIAA. We are committed to making sure these 34 units are well-maintained, comfortable homes long into the future.”
The investment also protects the portfolio of multifamily properties from absentee landlord ownership, which is a long-standing issue in the City of Saint Louis, while properly maintaining and managing the properties, including screening tenants through TGNCDC’s tenant screening program, Screendoor.org. Further, the investment will leverage improvements on Shaw Boulevard/De Tonty Street, which were completed by or facilitated by TGNCDC. They include the New Bailey’s Range at 4175 Shaw Ave. ($400,000 investment/opening date to be determined), the Wild Carrot Event Space ($1.2 million investment at 3901 Shaw Blvd./opening summer 2017), DeTonty Commons Apartments and Townhouse Development on the 4100 Block of De Tonty St. ($10 million investment/opening 1st quarter 2017) and streetscape improvements such as new branded crosswalks, new bump-outs, new LED lighting improvements and new banners.
“Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC’s efforts to obtain these properties will guarantee moderate price rentals with outstanding responsible local management. Such a win for Shaw and the City of St. Louis.” says Alderman Steve Conway.
“Shaw is considered an area of opportunity and it has always been a place for people of all income levels. We’re taking a proactive approach and making a sizable investment to sustain economic diversity and affordability to help low- to moderate-income residents stay in the neighborhood and to provide the same opportunity to others looking to move here. State and federal subsidized housing will never be enough to meet the demands of our community. Partnerships with organizations like TIAA are imperative to successful neighborhood revitalization that includes sustaining affordability with market rate deals,” said Sean Spencer, executive director.
The Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that promotes responsible development, affordable housing, diverse character and vibrancy in the Shaw, Tower Grove South and Southwest Garden neighborhoods of St. Louis.
1-Grant made from TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB