The Flagstaff City Council approved the sale agreement for three city-owned land parcels to be developed into affordable housing at its meeting Tuesday night.
The agreement was awarded to Illinois-based Brinshore Development, which was one of three organizations to respond to the city’s request for proposals for the project, which was issued in August. A selection committee with six members then chose Brinshore as the winning bidder, housing director Sarah Darr told the council.
That didn't sit well with a local bidder, Devonna McLaughlin, the executive director for Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona. During the public comment period at the meeting, McLaughlin said she was disappointed in the city’s choice of Brinshore, when Housing Solutions and a partner developer, Gorman and Company, also submitted a proposal.
McLaughlin said her organization’s proposal would have delivered 68 affordable units with some units designated to benefit the homeless. The proposal also offered a long-term lease from the city for 65 years, if the city decided it did not want to sell the parcels.
Brinshore does not have any properties in Arizona, unlike Gorman and Company, McLaughlin said, and there was no priority given to proposals that had references from within the state.
Brinshore’s developments are mostly located in the Midwest, with one on the East coast.
Despite McLaughlin’s concern, the council unanimously approved the sale, which includes the city receiving a total of $2.02 million for the properties. Under the agreement, Brinshore has three years to obtain the award of the tax credits. Brinshore is required to hold neighborhood outreach before the final site plans are submitted to the council.
The probable funding source for the affordable units will be the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, and Brinshore has about 60 properties that have utilized the program, Darr said.
The city has nine apartment complexes that were created using the tax credit, which total 746 units. All of the properties created in Flagstaff hold only affordable units, Darr said in a report to the city council over the summer. The largest Low Income Housing Tax Credit development in Flagstaff is Oakwood Village Apartments, which offers 200 affordable units designed for families.
The project includes three sites scattered throughout the city, with one on West Street near the Safeway plaza, another on Izabel Street near the skate park and the third on Lone Tree Road at Butler Avenue.
As part of the agreement, Brinshore has to create a minimum of 74 units across the three sites, which are estimated to include 8 studio units, 33 one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units and 24 three-bedroom units. In the early discussions about the project, Darr told the council the city has a high need for studio and one-bedroom units. At least one of the developments will be targeted to the elderly.