Hunt Capital Partners Invests in the Historic Adaptive Reuse of Iconic Blue Flame Building in El Paso
LOS ANGELES, August 29, 2018– Hunt Capital Partners provided $22.8 million in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and historic tax credit (HTC) equity financing for Blue Flame Apartments. The development is the historic adaptive reuse of the 64-year-old Blue Flame Building in El Paso, Texas, and upon completion, will provide 120 affordable housing apartments and 39,672 square feet of commercial space. The 18-story high-rise building will also benefit from a 20-year Project Based Rental Agreement (PBRA) contract through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Originally constructed in 1954, the Blue Flame Building served as the headquarters of the El Paso Natural Gas Co. For the last 12 years, the property has sat vacant. Sitting atop the building is the iconic 21-foot flame, made of steel and plexiglass, which would previously light up and change colors based on the weather forecast. The rehabilitation of the Blue Flame Building and the restoration of the iconic “blue flame,” a historic landmark for the El Paso skyline, will be a key revitalization project for the city.
“We are glad to be part of a venture that preserves such an important structure for El Paso while also providing more affordable housing for families,” said Hunt Capital Partners Executive Managing Director Dana Mayo. “We also want to thank Citi for partnering with us as our equity investor.”
Once renovated by January 2020, Blue Flame Apartments will consist of both residential and commercial lease space. A total of 120 LIHTC units, spread across 12 floors of the building, will be available for households earning 30, 50 and 60 percent of the area median income. The development has committed to set aside leasing priority for five percent of the total units for persons with special needs. Floors 14-18 of the building will be reserved for commercial use.
Blue Flame Apartments will feature the standard complement of unit amenities. It will include a community room with a common area kitchen, central laundry facilities, elevator access, a fitness center, and controlled security access. The development will also offer resident service coordination, including adult education, character building, financial planning, and health classes, as well as social activities for tenants.
The total development cost for Blue Flame is $55.3 million. Hunt Capital Partners facilitated the investment of federal LIHTC and historic tax credit equity by Citi through its proprietary investor fund, Hunt Capital Partners Tax Credit Fund 19, and contributed an additional $11 million of equity for the Texas state historic tax credits. Citibank provided a $31 million construction loan as well as a $3.75 million permanent loan. Paisano Housing Redevelopment Corporation (PHRC), an affiliate of the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, contributed a $17 million loan.
PHRC and Franklin Development Properties, Ltd. are the co-developers for Blue Flame Apartments. Sundt Construction, Inc. is the contractor, Alamo Architects, Inc. is the project architect, and EP Home is the property manager.
About Hunt Capital Partners
Hunt Capital Partners (HCP) is the syndication division of Hunt Companies, Inc. (Hunt). HCP specializes in the syndication of Federal and State Low-Income Housing, Historic and Solar Tax Credits. Since the successful launch of its first fund in the fall of 2011, HCP has raised over $1.5 billion in tax credit equity. Founded in 1947, Hunt is a privately held company that invests in businesses focused in the real estate and infrastructure markets. The activities of Hunt’s affiliates and investors include investment management, mortgage banking, direct lending, loan servicing, asset management, property management, development, construction, consulting and advisory. For more information on Hunt Capital Partners, please visit www.huntcapitalpartners.com, or for Hunt Companies, please visit www.huntcompanies.com.
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