Covenant Place garners major funding approval for Phase II

An artist’s rendering shows Covenant Place’s second phase of redevel-opment. The building would include the Mirowitz Center, serving both residents and seniors in the broader community.

By Larry Levin, Publisher/CEO

Last week’s award of tax credits and other funding totalling about $11.6 million in project equity moves the next phase of the Covenant Place redevelopment project, which will include 102 new living units and a major community center for seniors, closer to reality.

As Phase I continues under construction for an opening mid-2016, Covenant Place received an award from the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) for a low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and companion funding that will help enable the second phase of the three-phase project. The project was St. Louis County’s top-rated of those submitted to MHDC for this funding cycle. 

The MHDC award of federal and state LIHTC 9 percent tax credits, Affordable Housing Assistance Program (AHAP) state credits, and state “HOME” funds (provided as a loan payable out of cash flow), will generate about $11.6 million of the roughly $29 million required to complete Phase II. Another $6.4 million comes from first mortgage and subordinate loan funding.

The remainder of about $11 million for Phase II will come from private donations. Covenant Place Executive Director Joan Denison indicated that effort is well underway.

“We’re having many important conversations with people right now, and we feel very hopeful that we’ll be able to complete the fundraising within the time frame to take advantage of those tax credits,” Denison said. That time frame is estimated to be about four months. 

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One of the fundraised elements, and a major part of the second phase, is the approximately 20,000 square feet of community space that will be called the Mirowitz Center, after lead donor Helene Mirowitz and her late husband, Carl. 

The center will provide a wide variety of services and gathering opportunities for not only Covenant Place residents, but seniors across the community.  Medical, therapeutic, entertainment and personal services and more will be available in the center. Partners and operators of services in the center will be added and made public as the development gets underway.

“This project serves not only the residents of Covenant Place, but it is designed to serve a much broader community of older adults,” Denison said. 

In addition to the Mirowitz Center, the Phase II project will comprise 102 one-bedroom units, and qualify for Section 8 subsidy contracts under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program. Alongside the 66 Section 8 units in Phase I (of a total of 101 units in that phase), the first two phases of the three-phrase redevelopment project will have a total of 168 Section 8 units. 

Conditions under the MHDC awards require that the funding matrix for Phase II be completed this spring.  If that schedule is met, plans for construction would commence and the building schedule would be similar to that for Phase I, but with less complex and less substantial infrastructure improvements and site preparation than were required for that phase.

Phase III of the Covenant Place redevelopment would serve to replace the existing Covenant Chai apartments, but that project does not yet have a definite funding and timing structure. The entirety of the three-phase Covenant Place project is anticipated to cost about $86.5 million. It is expected that the total fundraising effort for both Phases II and III will be $18 million, including the approximately $11 million needed to complete the funding matrix for Phase II. 

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