SOUTH PORTLAND — Two apartment buildings that would create more than 100 units of subsidized and market-rate housing have been awarded a combined $14 million in critical funding through the Maine State Housing Authority.

West End Apartments, a 64-unit building that’s being developed by Avesta Housing at 586 Westbrook St., will receive low-income housing tax credits valued at $8.6 million, the developers said.

Thornton Heights Commons, a 42-unit building that’s being developed by the South Portland Housing Authority at 611 Main St., will receive federally backed tax credits valued at $5.4 million.

Maine Housing’s funding approval, announced last week, was a major hurdle cleared by both projects, located on the rapidly changing west side of the city, near Interstate 295 and the Maine Turnpike. Both are expected to start construction as early as next summer and begin leasing apartments in 2020, addressing a need for affordable workforce housing that has plagued Greater Portland for years.

“It’s the biggest hurdle we had to get over,” said Tyler Norod, Avesta’s project manager.

The $13 million West End project also has received $253,000 in federal HOME funds awarded by Cumberland County and tax-increment financing from the city.


Next month, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston is expected to decide on Avesta’s application for about $1 million in grants and subsidized permanent loans for the West End project.

If the last funding piece is approved as anticipated, Avesta will finalize architectural plans, pick a contractor and start construction next summer on a mixed-use building with a variety store, neighborhood resource hub and community room on the first floor.

“We’re excited to get started,” Norod said, noting that Avesta began two years ago working with city officials on zoning changes that made the West End project possible.

The West End is a diverse and growing neighborhood of large apartment complexes near the Maine Mall that the city has targeted for improvements outlined in a master plan approved last year.

Fifty of the 64 units in West End Apartments will be subsidized and reserved for households earning as much as 60 percent of median family income in Greater Portland under federal housing calculations. That’s $54,000 per year for a family of four.

Market rates for the West End project will likely range from $950 a month for a studio to $1,300 for a two-bedroom unit, Norod said. Subsidized rates will range from $788 for a studio to $1,266 for a three-bedroom unit.


Thirty-three of the 42 units at Thornton Heights Commons will be subsidized and dedicated to lower-income households, said Brooks More, the local authority’s development director. Annual median income for a family of four in Greater Portland is $90,100, according to federal housing calculations.

Market rates at Thornton Heights will be $1,050 a month for one bedroom, $1,300 for two bedrooms and $1,800 for three bedrooms, More said. The maximum subsidized rates will be $1,000, $1,200 and $1,400, respectively.

Now that the $9.5 million Thornton Heights project has secured funding from Maine Housing, the local housing authority will soon select a contractor to collaborate with the project’s architects in drawing up final plans.

Before construction can begin, the former St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, parochial school and rectory will have to be razed, More said.

Construction is expected to start in late summer or early fall 2019 and be completed the following summer.

The building will include 7,000 square feet of street-level commercial space fronting on Route 1, in an area of Main Street where the city has made significant road and sidewalk improvements.


The housing authority also plans to sell three house lots behind the building.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

Twitter: KelleyBouchard

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