July 21, 2022, Columbus – A high-quality, energy-efficient 62-unit affordable housing community has created a new housing option for workforce residents, retirees on fixed incomes, and others in need of affordable homes on Columbus northeast side near Easton Town Center. Developer Woda Cooper Companies hosted a Grand Opening and Ribbon-cutting today to celebrate the new $15.4 million development called Wendler Commons at 4860 Wendler Boulevard.
Many low- and moderate-income households in the Columbus area pay too much of their income for housing. That affordability gap is the result of existing economic, housing-cost, and demographic trends — and future population projections indicate the need will only grow larger, according to the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio.
Wendler Commons offers 14 one-bedroom apartments, 40 two-bedroom apartments, and eight three-bedroom apartments affordable for households who earn 30 to 80% of area median income (AMI). There are six units designed for those with disabilities. Rental rates are $330 to $1060/month depending on unit size and income restriction.
“No Columbus resident should have to pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income to live in the neighborhood of their choice, and Wendler Commons puts us one step closer to that reality,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, who gave remarks and toured the facility “This new facility will give residents and their families a safe place to work, live and making this day possible.”
Wendler Commons is a comprised of two mid-rise buildings with elevators. It incorporates traditional building materials of brick, siding, and fiber cement panels in contemporary colors to create a modern building façade. The apartments have attractive, spacious living spaces and contemporary, high-quality finishes. There are four accessible units for those with mobility challenges, plus two additional units specifically equipped for those with sight/hearing impairments. All apartments have kitchens with ENERGY STAR appliances, including dishwashers; washer/dryer hookups; adequate storage, window blinds, and energy-efficient central electric heat and air conditioning systems. Units are pre-wired for cable, telephone, and internet access. Wendler Commons is pending for LEED Silver certification.
Community amenities include an onsite management office, a multipurpose space with kitchenette, playroom, fitness center, and laundry with ample off-street parking.
“Wendler Commons provides an excellent new housing option within a short distance of many job centers including retail outlets such as the nearby Easton Town Center, plus many other stores, restaurants, and office buildings,” said Jeffrey J. Woda, Chief Visionary Officer for Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. “We appreciate the many partners who supported our journey to make Wendler Commons a reality.”
Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) allocated federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to Wendler Commons to support equity financing and also provided an equity bridge mortgage. “OHFA is proud to partner with Woda Cooper in the development of Wendler Commons. Housing that is close to jobs, retail centers, and community resources provides residents with opportunities and a strong quality of life. And, that is what we want for all Ohioans, an affordable place to call home in a community they love,” said Shawn Smith, Executive Director for OHFA.
Affordable housing investor Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) purchased the tax credits which provided for equity financing invested by Fifth Third Bank who also provided the construction loan. “Wendler Commons is a wonderful example of private and public partnerships working together in the community to create affordable, secure housing for local families while also supporting economic growth and stability,” said Catherine Cawthon, OCCH president and CEO. “We are grateful to Fifth Third Bank, the investor and construction lender for Wendler Commons, and for our partnership with Woda Cooper in providing another high-quality, affordable development in Columbus, Ohio.”
Fifth Third Bank commented about its support for Wendler Commons. “At the Fifth Third Community Development Corp. and Fifth Third Bank we are committed to working with partners across our footprint to help bring affordable housing and positive neighborhood transformation to our communities,” said Justin Marshall, Senior Vice President, Community Development Lending Group Head. “We are excited to play a role in Wendler Commons project which will bring 62 units of much needed affordable housing to Franklin County.”
Merchants Capital provided a first permanent mortgage. “Merchants Capital is proud of our partnership with Woda Cooper Companies and pleased to be a part of the team bringing Wendler Commons to the Columbus area,” said Brian Shelbourne, Vice President, Originations at Merchants Capital. “We look forward to celebrating this 62-unit community that will provide safe, affordable housing options to residents conveniently located near retail, shopping, job opportunities and other services.”
Other vital support came from the City of Columbus who used HOME funds to provide a $750,000 soft second mortgage for the property. The Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County provided a primary equity bridge loan.
Woda Construction, Inc. was general contractor. Architecture was performed by PCI Design Group, Inc. with civil engineering by Structure Point and green building consultation by Sol Design + Consulting. Woda Cooper Companies’ management division oversees leasing and property management. For more information about Wendler Commons, contact email@example.com or 614-314-5760.
About Woda Cooper Companies, Inc.
Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. and its affiliates specialize in the development, design, construction, and management of high-quality affordable multi-family apartments, senior communities, and single-family homes. The company marked 30 years in business May 2, 2020, with operations in 16 states and a portfolio of approximately 400 communities and 16,000 units. Green building is standard with certifications including Passive House, Zero Energy Ready Homes, LEED, Enterprise Green, EarthCraft, and ENERGY STAR. Woda Cooper has offices in Savannah, GA; Indianapolis, IN; Shelbyville, KY; Queenstown, MD; Mackinaw City, MI; Columbus, OH; and Norfolk, VA. Affordable Housing Finance magazine ranked Woda Cooper Companies 10th in nation among Developers and 17th among Owners in 2022.