Private partner selected for Dare County essential/workforce housing projects

The Dare County Board of Commissioners has voted unanimously to select North Carolina-based consortium Coastal Affordable Housing to develop essential and workforce housing projects in Dare County using the $35 million in funding that was allocated to the county in the state budget passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in November 2021.

The decision to select Coastal Affordable Housing—which marked the latest move in the county’s extensive efforts to find a viable solution to the challenges surrounding year-round housing within Dare County—was reached at the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting that was held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22, 2022. Having touted its organization as consisting of a team of “problem solvers,” Coastal Affordable Housing has indicated to the board that it intends to construct up to 400 housing units in Dare County by the end of 2023.

In December 2021, Dare County distributed a request for qualifications (RFQ) formally soliciting submissions from developers who met a series of strict requirements that were outlined by the state in Section 24.3 of Senate Bill 105 in order to be considered for the public-private partnership.

This legislation states that “$35 million in nonrecurring funds for the 2021-2022 fiscal year will be provided to Dare County for the purpose of making a forgivable loan to a qualified private partner to construct affordable housing units within the jurisdictional boundaries of Dare County.”

To satisfy the conditions specified in the state’s legislation, a developer must have experience in the development of multi-family, multi-story housing units in Dare County and/or other parts of North Carolina, as well as experience executing a public-private partnership, a forgivable loan initiative and a public-private partnership, among several other criteria.

On February 11, 2022, the Dare County Capital Improvements Planning Committee (CIP) convened to review the responses to the RFQ that were submitted by two qualified candidates—Coastal Affordable Housing and Woda Cooper Companies—who made presentations emphasizing their experience and detailing their plans for constructing essential and workforce housing projects within Dare County.

Incorporated in November 2021, Coastal Affordable Housing is a North Carolina-based consortium composed of architect Robert Ferris, contractor Aaron Thomas and general contractor Metcom, all of whom would serve as principals in the housing projects. The team also included several additional corporate participants, including Fred Mills Jr.—who serves as the president and CEO of United Property Management in Raleigh and has spearheaded the construction of an array of multi-family units in various developments.

During its presentation to the CIP committee, Coastal Affordable Housing emphasized its proven ability to execute, noting that it has successfully completed 20 public-private partnership projects in the Carolinas, three North Carolina projects that involved forgivable loans, as well as one forgivable loan project in Dare County.

Following a discussion about the proposals that had previously been submitted by the two candidates, Commissioner Rob Ross motioned that the Dare County Board of Commissioners select Coastal Affordable Housing as the preferred private partner to construct affordable housing units in Dare County.

In addition, the motion recommended that Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard and County Manager Bobby Outten meet with representatives of Woda Cooper Companies at a future date to discuss their interest in developing essential and workforce housing units at the county-owned Bowsertown Road site on Roanoke Island. Citing the fact that the motion incorporated the strengths of both Coastal Affordable Housing and Woda Cooper Companies, the motion was seconded by Commissioner Jim Tobin and ultimately approved unanimously by the board.

For more detailed information—and to sign up to receive updates about Dare County’s ongoing efforts to develop essential and workforce housing projects, visit DareNC.com/Housing

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