KCDC officially opens new Five Points affordable housing

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC), along with business and community leaders and members of the Five Points community, officially opened Five Points Phase 2, an affordable housing complex at the east corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and McConnell Street, on Sept. 19.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), elected officials and project partners joined KCDC to celebrate the opening of the 10-building, 84-unit complex.

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) and its partners celebrate the official opening of Five Points Phase 2, a 10-building, 84-unit affordable housing complex for families, on Sept. 19 in East Knoxville. From left: KCDC Board Chair John Winemiller, Board Vice Chair Bob Whetsel, Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley; Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and City Council members Gwen McKenzie and George Wallace; Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and County Commissioner Evelyn Gill; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Knoxville Field Office Director Bob Cook; Tennessee Housing Development Agency board member Mary Mac Wilson; Daryl Johnson, Johnson Architecture; Drew Milsaps, Merit Construction; Alex Decker, Partners; Lauren Henry, Red Stone Equity Partners; David Reynolds, Home Federal Bank; and Kim Clark, KCDC, participated in the ceremony.

“The opening of Phase 2 is another step in the redevelopment efforts to invigorate the Five Points community and provide quality affordable housing that creates a sense of community,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “I said a year ago when we broke ground on this spot that I looked forward to returning and welcoming individuals and families to their new homes. Today’s opening is the result of a collaboration between KCDC and our partners at HUD, THDA and the City of Knoxville. Thank you to all of our partners and the Five Points community for investing in these efforts.”

Phase 1 of the Five Points Master Plan debuted in 2017 when The Residences at Five Points, a three-story, 90-unit complex of housing for seniors and people with disabilities, opened on Bethel Avenue.

Phase 2 of the Five Points Master Plan offers one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom options and addresses housing needs for families. The East Knoxville complex covers more than six acres and features energy-efficient units, green spaces, sidewalks and a playground.

“It’s exciting to see this phase of the Five Points Master Plan become a reality,” Rogero said. “Five Points is an important and historical community, and a revitalized, thriving Five Points benefits our entire city. I want to thank everyone involved in this process from neighbors to project planners for working together to implement this plan.”

Ross/Deckard Architects and Johnson Architecture designed Phase 2 project with Merit Construction as the construction contractor. KCDC’s owner’s representative on the project is Partners. The $17 million construction cost was funded primarily through low-income housing tax credits from THDA. The equity partner for the tax credits is Red Stone Equity Partners, and Home Federal Bank of Tennessee is the mortgage lender.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a credit against federal income tax liability each year for 10 years for owners and investors in low-income rental housing and allows KCDC to raise private equity.

The Five Points Master Plan, led by Johnson Architecture, was developed with years of community input as a guide to replace the outdated Walter P. Taylor Homes and Lee Williams developments with modern affordable housing units. The plan is to be completed in four phases.

In May 2018, KCDC officials broke ground on Five Points Phase 3, an affordable housing complex to be built at the west corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and McConnell Street. The complex of 80 one- to three-bedroom units within 28 duplex and triplex buildings is expected to open in 2019 and also will reflect the fabric of the surrounding community.

Beginning in 2009, the City of Knoxville committed $800,000 annually for 10 years to the total master plan project. An additional $1.55 million was committed in the city’s 2018 budget, and $3.48 million is planned for 2019. The city’s total investment in the Five Points neighborhood is more than $13 million. The funding will upgrade infrastructure throughout the Five Points development, including replacing utilities, adding or widening streets, and constructing sidewalks to improve walkability and connectivity of residential areas to the community.

“Five Points is being renewed because of the commitment of the community members and the partners for this development,” Bentley said. “A vibrant Five Points community matters to KCDC and everyone involved in these efforts.”