You’ve probably seen the houses being built behind the old VA Doctor’s residences on West Pleasant.
As a Realtor, I’ve gotten numerous inquiries about the development, and I’ve heard plenty of rumors, for example that they are all low-income rentals, that they’re going to be filled with a group of Somalian refugees, that they’re going to suck up all the rental market, and that they’re going to be upper income units for purchase only.
So, I decided to find out more. I started with Harold Stewart, City Manager, and then did some digging around on the web, and wrapped up with a phone call to the property management company in charge.
I learned that the development is called the Villas at Fox Point, that it is a Section 42 housing development being built by the Iceberg Development company, and is slated for completion later this year. According to Wikipedia, a Section 42 project refers to the Section 42 tax credits that give dollar-for-dollar incentives for the utilization of private equity in the development of affordable housing aimed at low-income Americans. In other words, Iceberg Development is investing their own money to create the development, with the understanding that they will get an equal amount of tax credit to their investment. The credits for this project amount to something in the neighborhood of $800,000.
The Villas at Fox Point will be managed by Pioneer Property Management, and will have a total of 50 units, consisting of a combination of two-, four-, and eight-plex homes; with 2, 3, and 4 bedrooms; and will all be rentals. The majority of these units will be rented to qualified individuals who earn above the threshold for low income assistance, but below the income level that would normally enable them to purchase a home.
Stewart told me that rent will be determined on a sliding scale based on income for most units, although several units will be rented to the general public at market rates. Currently, he told me, there are over 200 names on the list requesting information for these homes. Some time in the coming weeks, information and applications will be sent to the people on the list, and qualified applicants will be placed in the rental units on a first-come, first-served basis. Stewart added that about half of the names have out of town addresses. This means that a number of new families will be coming to Knoxville, many with children who will attend our schools. He also said there is no specific preference given to immigrants of any nationality, but that such people are welcome to participate in the application process along with everyone else.
Knoxville could definitely benefit from more diversity, and from new tax-paying, economy-stimulating residents, so I personally welcome all sorts of people to join our great community, and hope that they will be contributors and volunteers, no matter where they come from.
There will also be a free-standing clubhouse, walking paths, a community garden, and an onsite resident manager. All units will be constructed with all required accommodations for disabled residents, and the complex will be landscaped. There are also specifications that require the complex to be well-maintained, and regular, unannounced inspections will be conducted. Iceberg Development and their management company, Pioneer Property Management have earned a good reputation for keeping their properties in good condition, and we have every indication that they will do the same in Knoxville.
Will this development alleviate the need for rental units in our community? I think these 50 units will help, but as many of the families are coming to town from somewhere else, and keeping in mind the expansion projected at Weiler Industries in the near future, I believe that many more rental units will be needed.
Are you interested in investing in real estate? It’s a really good time to get in. Knoxville’s Iowa Realty office gets daily requests for rental property information, and most of the time we have to tell folks that all the units we know about are already filled.
So yes, the homes at Fox Point will all be rentals, most will be rented based on income, but renters will need to have a high enough income that they do not qualify for ‘low-income’ housing assistance. No, there is no indication that the units are all going to be occupied by a group of Somali refugees, although families who come from other countries are welcome to participate in the process. No, these 50 units are unlikely to dry up the rental market for other landlords. And no, this will not be an upper-crust gated community.
If you would like to get on the mailing list, call Pioneer Property Management at 608.348.7755 to submit your information.
So, there you go. That’s the scoop on the Villas at Fox Point.