KCDC announces new partnership with master developer on Five Points revitalization

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Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) has entered into an agreement with The Communities Group to serve as co-developer on upcoming phases of the Five Points revitalization.

“This relationship with The Communities Group is a very important one,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Art Cate said. “We have searched for a master developer partner from candidates across the country and were tremendously impressed with the company’s expertise and decades of experience in affordable housing redevelopment. Its talented staff will be an asset to us for Five Points and other major development and redevelopment initiatives.”

The master developer agreement is not KCDC’s first partnership with The Communities Group. In 2013, the company assisted in preparing the Five Points Master Plan as part of a team with Johnson Architecture and Atlanta-based urban planner, Lord Aeck Sargent.

The initial agreement with The Communities Group outlines a 50/50 co-developer relationship to assist KCDC staff with planning, design, land use, development, construction and the securing of financing on Phases 2 through 4 of the Five Points Master Plan.

KCDC will be the sole developer on the Phase 1 of the Five Points Master Plan, a 90-unit elderly/disabled housing complex at the corner of Bethel Avenue and McConnell Street. The Communities Group will act as a consultant when needed for this phase. All phases will be developed under the new Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program as project based rental assistance units.

“We are excited to formalize and expand our partnership with The Communities Group.” said Dan Murphy, chair of the KCDC Board of Commissioners. “As the housing and redevelopment authority of the City of Knoxville and Knox County, KCDC is a regional model of a progressive, innovative agency. With The Communities Group, we have access to even more knowledge, expertise and resources for local projects and to offer our partners in the region.”

KCDC, The Communities Group and Thomas Point Associates currently are working with the City of Knoxville on the Jackson Avenue predevelopment market study, which includes the KCDC-owned former sites of the McClung Warehouses. The report will guide the next steps of redevelopment in that area.

Based in Washington, D.C., The Communities Group is one of the top affordable housing development experts in the country. The firm has experience with redevelopment funded through various U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs and grants, including HOPE VI, Choice Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants, among others.

In HUD’s new RAD program, The Communities Group managed the applications for 28 percent of the inaugural 60,000 units accepted to the project. The program allows public housing agencies to leverage public and private debt and equity to reinvest in public housing stock – the same redevelopment tools available to the private sector. The company has conducted RAD portfolio studies in all 50 states.

“KCDC expects to transition the majority of its 3,600 housing units to project-based Section 8 properties through the RAD program in the next few years, and The Communities Group is one of the best in the industry at writing RAD applications and managing portfolio conversions,” Cate said.

“RAD is the future of public housing, and KCDC is at the forefront of this change. The program will make sure we can continue to provide a high standard of affordable housing to the area without relying on uncertain federal funding.”

KCDC is the housing authority and redevelopment agency for Knoxville. Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville. For more information, visit https://www.kcdc.org.

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