March 22, 2012

Miller-Valentine to Build Affordable Homes

Miller-Valentine Group may be best known for building places to do business. But the company is also quietly making a mark in building affordable places to live.

The Moraine-based developer ranked 24th on Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s 2010 list of the top 50 builders of affordable housing. The company was involved in projects in six states that year.
Miller-Valentine intends to vie for a place in the magazine’s 2011 list as well.

Affordable housing is fueled by tax credits, said David Liette, Miller-Valentine partner and president of its multifamily development work. Tax credits are issued through the U.S. Treasury to a developer such as Miller-Valentine and a nonprofit partner, then sold to investors.

The sale cuts a developer’s debt and makes it possible for a developer to boost the equity it has in a project — which in turn makes it possible to offer homes to initial residents for lower lease payments.
At the end of 15 years, whoever lives in the homes has the option to buy them.

The practice results in lower home costs and revitalized neighborhoods, said Liette and Tim Bete, vice president of mission for St. Mary Development Corp., a Dayton faith-based non-profit that often works as a development partner for the construction of affordable homes.

In May, perhaps sooner, Miller-Valentine and St. Mary will break ground for 43 single-family lease-to-own homes north of West Third Street in Dayton. The 1,524-square-foot homes will feature four bedrooms with two full baths, walk-in closets, breakfast bars and detached two-car garages.

In Huber Heights, Miller-Valentine is planning a 34-unit “senior villa.” Units there will feature two bedrooms, one and one-half bathrooms, covered front porches and rear patios, washer and dryer hook-ups and more.

In Dayton, Miller-Valentine bought foreclosed lots, in some cases through sheriff’s sales and in other cases from city government.

The need for affordable housing outweighs the federal tax credits available to make them a reality, Bete said. “Families are really struggling.”

There are also sound business reasons to focus on the affordable-home market, Liette said. Residences are often “counter-cyclical” to commercial markets many times. When one market’s values are up, the other’s often are down.

By Thomas Gnau, Dayton Daily News
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2390 or [email protected]

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