Mortgage banking company Merchants Capital recently secured $21 million in financing for the development of Forge on Main, an affordable, workforce housing property coming soon to Evansville, Indiana.
Located in an Opportunity Zone, Forge on Main is also part of Evansville’s Promise Zone, a designation to support the city’s most “at-risk, yet most promising neighborhoods of its urban core.” The new development will be a mixed-use property featuring 180 residential units along with 15,000 square feet of commercial space.
The three-year, $21 million deal is a construction loan combined with an equity bridge loan of the $3.4 million in redevelopment tax credits from the IEDC. Within the 180 units, 18 will be reserved for residents earning no greater than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), with the rest of the units priced for tenants at 60 percent to 120 percent of the AMI.
The project was completed in partnership with the borrower House Investments, the Partnership for Affordable Housing, Inc., the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the City of Evansville, which awarded tax increment financing bonds and a 10-year property tax abatement for the project. Additionally, the Centerpoint Energy Foundation – a non-profit arm of Centerpoint Energy, a gas and electricity provider located in Evansville – provided a grant to the project.
The workforce housing complex will consist of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, with 102 of the 180 units located in a three-story walk-up and 78 units located directly above the retail and commercial space. Currently, developers are working to place a grocery store in the property, recognizing that the Evansville Opportunity Zone is located within a food desert.
Forge on Main broke ground in August 2020 and will be located at 200 N. Main St. The property is currently pre-leasing for the fall of 2021.