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New grant closes funding gap for affordable housing project on Carolina Beach Road

A rendering of the Starway Village affordable housing development at 2346 Carolina Beach Rd.
City of Wilmington
A rendering of the Starway Village affordable housing development at 2346 Carolina Beach Rd.

Affordable housing project Starway Village finally has the funds to move forward, after a grant from the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, or NCORR, covered the last gap in funding.

Starway Village will replace a flea market off of Carolina Beach Road, bringing 278 units of affordable housing to Wilmington. The developers are using a federal tax credit program to keep the project affordable, but that meant they needed financing help from local governments.

This project is the first to receive gap funding from a city-county partnership, and is the largest gap funding commitment made individually by either one.

New Hanover County is providing $1.8 million, and the City of Wilmington is providing $3.5 million, both from federal funds. But that wasn’t enough to fully fund the project — which is where NCORR came in. The agency gave a $9 million grant of their own, closing the final gap in financing.

Developer Ted Heilbron said that without the money, the project would’ve had to downsize or be made less affordable.

“The truth of the matter is that individually without the NCORR money, but also to be clear without the city money, or the county money, this project does not work in its current form," he said.

NCORR jumped in because Hurricane Florence damaged many sources of affordable housing for Cape Fear residents, and the agency sees Starway Village as a way to help replace that loss.

The units will be affordable to households that make 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), with one-bedrooms set to rent for $754 per month, and three-bedroom units for under $1000. The developers are hoping to be ready for families to move in in about three years.

The nearly 300 units make a significant contribution to filling the affordable housing gap — by 2030, New Hanover County is expected to be more than 1,200 rental units short at 60% AMI. This complex will account for more than 20% of the need at that level.

Grace Vitaglione is a multimedia journalist, recently graduated from American University. I’m attracted to issues of inequity and my reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, I’ve investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast and produced student-led video stories.