River Breeze: Housing project earns $1.1M in federal tax credits

Development of the long-awaited River Breeze apartments in Shelton could be on the horizon, thanks to a needed boost from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.
The Shelton-based project at 223 Canal St. was one of seven housing development projects across the state to receive part of $10.3 million from the 9 percent low-income housing tax credit program on Thursday. River Breeze was approved for more than $1 million in tax credits.
The federal program is meant provide an incentive to private investment in affordable housing by awarding tax credits to developers. The developers can sell their credits to investors to obtain equity financing for their developments. This recent batch of projects is expected to generate almost $100 million in equity statewide.
“We all know that more affordable housing is needed in Connecticut,” said Seila Mosquera-Brunoin, CHFA chairwoman and commissioner of the Department of Housing, in a Thursday press release. “The tax credits awarded today will help to build new housing and renovate existing units to provide safe, sustainable housing for residents.”
River Breeze is expected to bring 68 units of mixed-income apartment units to the former Rolfite property fronting the Housatonic River in Shelton.
The development is part of the Shelton Riverfront Master Plan which called for construction of 650 units along Canal Street facing the river either by converting old industrial buildings or through new construction.
The project is part of the third phase of development in the master plan, across from the Avalon apartments.
The Shelton-based project has been in the works since 2013, when John Guedes of Bridgeport-based Primrose Co. first proposed it. New Haven-based Mutual Housing Association of South-Central Connecticut took over the project roughly six months ago with intent to complete the apartments. Primrose Co. Inc. still serves as general contractors for the project.
“This has been on the books for some time waiting for the grants and the federal financing from CHFA,” Guedes said.
Nearly 400 units have been built already.
“Up until now, there has been no affordable housing within the mix,” Guedes said. “I always intended to at some point introduce some affordable housing into the development.”
River Breeze will include the construction of 23 one-bedroom and 45 two-bedroom units ranging from 796 to 1,081 square feet.
Seventeen units will be restricted to residents earning 25 percent of area median income, which is around $89,250, according to census data. Fourteen units will be designated as supportive housing units while another 14 will be market rate.
The remaining affordable units will be designated to people at 50 and 60 percent of AMI.
Since it was initially proposed, Guedes said River Breeze has been going through a series of approval processes with state departments to get its needed financing.
The $15 million project will be the result of CHFA loans, tax credits and federal and state grants.
With brownfield clean up completed and the approvals in, Guedes said the project is shovel ready. He’s hopeful that construction will begin by the end of the summer, kickstarting an 18-month build.