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After facing an uncertain future, Driftwood Apartments' new owners to maintain services for Wilmington's most vulnerable residents

Ben Schachtman
The Driftwood Apartment complex in Wilmington.

When the Driftwood Apartment complex was put on the market, low-income and disability housing advocates were alarmed. Now it’s found a local buyer, Cape Fear Collective — what's next?

Driftwood Apartments is a 14-unit complex funded in part by low-income housing tax credits, and dedicated to the region’s most vulnerable people — formerly homeless residents with disabilities.

Related: HUD halts affordable housing complex sale, but some residents have already been displaced

Earlier this year, the private owner notified tenants the property was being put on the market. While the sale was halted by state and federal agencies, all but two of the residents were already displaced.

While tax-credit laws require Driftwood to remain affordable for another 15-years, a potential sale meant it was unclear if the complex would continue to support vulnerable populations.

However, Cape Fear Collective CEO Patrick Brien says that’s the intent behind the sale.

“I think we're dedicated to keeping it affordable and supportive. You know, these units are unique, they're single-story handicap accessible. You know, there's a rich history serving this really critical population," Brien said.

The $1.2 million deal is part of CFC’s broader approach to supporting affordable housing.

According to CFCC, the investment in "Driftwood is part of a broader initiative called Cape Fear Collective Ventures, a social impact investment initiative aimed at raising capital to scale solutions in affordable housing, workforce development, small business growth and transportation challenges. The goal of Cape Fear Collective Ventures is to deploy capital in communities with significant barriers to resources. The entire platform is powered by Cape Fear Collective’s cutting-edge focus on data science and project management which allows the fund to track progress, opportunity and priority shifts in real time to ensure the greatest social return on investment for partners and investors."

The sale will close in June, after which CFC plans renovations for Driftwood.

“I hope that it will continue to do good things with this particular property. We're looking forward to renovations on it. So that's kind of the next step," Brien said.

CFC expects to have Driftwood occupied again this fall.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.