Charlotte Housing Impact Fund Acquires Shamrock Gardens – Milestone For Affordable Housing

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The Housing Impact Fund, in partnership with Ascent Housing,  recently announced the purchase of Shamrock Gardens Apartments, a 265-unit property off Eastway Drive in Charlotte’s Shannon Park neighborhood. Shamrock Gardens is the Fund’s fourth property acquisition in just over a year, and its procurement marks a year-in milestone of more than 500 converted affordable housing units to address housing insecurity and facilitate economic opportunity in Charlotte.

The Fund plans to invest $7 million in property improvements at Shamrock Gardens to restore the nearly 60-year-old complex, also one of the city’s most affordable living communities and a stark contrast to most developments in the Charlotte region, which has seen an average rent increase of nearly 17% since September 2020, according to CoStar. In addition to its affordability, turnover at Shamrock Gardens is just over 10%, roughly half the turnover rate at similar types of properties. All apartments will be reserved for households earning less than 80% of Charlotte’s Area Median Income (AMI), and nearly half of the units will be dedicated to those below 50% AMI. No current residents will be displaced from the acquisition.

The Housing Impact Fund was created in October 2020 with $58 million invested by a number of socially minded individuals and corporations to preserve affordable apartment communities, particularly those under threat of being torn down or converted into more expensive housing. The Shamrock Gardens acquisition is part of the Fund’s strategy to increase affordable housing utilizing Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH). NOAH involves the purchase and rehabilitation of existing apartment communities in neighborhoods with access to jobs, transit, health care, education and retail services.

“It’s one thing to set an inanimate goal of affordable housing units converted, but it’s quite another to see tangible transformational change in action,” said Nelson Schwab III and Erskine Bowles, co-managing members of the Housing Impact Fund. “The dignity that comes with living in a place you are proud to call home cannot be quantified.”

Charlotte-based Truist Financial remains the Housing Impact Fund’s largest investor, with a $15 million commitment announced last year.

“We are humbled at the lives changed, communities restored and spirits renewed in the Housing Impact Fund’s first year,” said Bill Rogers, Truist CEO. “Armed with our on-the-ground learnings from year one, we look forward to continuing to support the Fund as lead investor in its efforts to preserve affordability in Charlotte and ensure that residents can continue calling these neighborhoods home for decades to come.”

Atrium Health, LendingTree and Movement Mortgage have also been key supporters of The Fund, investing with Truist and additional private and corporate investors a combined $38 million. The Fund also benefits from a $20 million commitment from the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund (CHOIF), a private-sector housing investment fund launched by the Foundation For The Carolinas and managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit with a local office.

The City of Charlotte estimates a current shortage of nearly 32,000 affordable housing units throughout the city, and more than 3,200 individuals experiencing homelessness.

“We know that the path toward ensuring that our city’s housing needs are met will be long and encumbered by many challenges, but we will continue to work until all of our neighbors have access to housing, health care, jobs and education,” said Movement Mortgage Chief Executive Officer Casey Crawford. “The steps we have taken as a community to research, fund and implement affordable housing solutions speak to Charlotte’s culture of caring for its people and align directly with Movement’s mission to love and value people and communities across America.”

Located just outside the centers of Plaza Midwood and NoDa, Shamrock Gardens will serve as a community complement to the Fund’s two additional East Charlotte properties, Maple Way and Pines on Wendover. The Fund also owns and operates Lake Mist, a 144-unit complex located off Archdale Drive in South Charlotte.

“Despite one of the most challenging real estate markets we’ve ever seen, the Housing Impact Fund has continuously pushed to secure properties in dynamic neighborhoods with accessibility to growing businesses and cultural districts,” said LendingTree Founder, Chairman and CEO Doug Lebda. “And the Fund has continued to follow through on its commitment to boosting economic opportunity, with 90% of all contractor dollars spent on improvements and upkeep directly benefitting minority-owned businesses.”

Looking toward 2022, the Housing Impact Fund will continue to make investments in properties that align with its mission and will expand its supportive services platform, which will assist residents in the areas of workforce development, college and career readiness, financial literacy, health and wellness, and education.

“Atrium Health is fortunate to play an important role in this story of both immediate and long-term impact for the residents of Shamrock Gardens and other communities the Housing Impact Fund has touched,” said Atrium Health President and Chief Executive Officer Eugene A. Woods. “In the coming year, we look forward to the onboarding of supportive service providers – like community health workers – to create even more holistic living communities.”

For more information on the Housing Impact Fund visit www.ascentrealestatecapital.com/ascent-housing.

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