Virgin Islands Housing Authority and MDG Design + Construction complete $116.7 million project to preserve affordable housing development in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Today the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (HIV) and WCO Design + Build (MDG) celebrate the start of the $116.7 million rehabilitation of the Walter IM Hodge Pavilion, a 248-unit affordable housing development in St. Croix, USVI. The project will preserve affordability for residents, modernize development and strengthen the site’s resilience to natural disasters. The project is the first in VIHA’s long-term plan to renovate and rebuild its affordable housing portfolio in the USVI.

“The revitalization of the Walter IM Hodge Pavilion will allow residents to stay safely and affordably in their homes, with the added peace of mind that their home will be safe and protected from future storms,” said Michael T. Rooney, Founding Director of MDG Design + Construction. “As the first project outside of the continental United States, we are grateful to all of our incredible partners who share our passion and enthusiasm for this important work and have allowed us to bring our expertise and resources to St. Croix. ”

Located at the corner of Centerline Road and Sandy Point Road in Frederiksted, St. Croix, and originally built in 1971, the project suffered extensive damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, Hodge will receive critical investments to improve operational efficiencies and improve residents’ quality of life while remaining affordable.

Project upgrades will include new kitchen and bathroom appliances and cabinets, new highly efficient plumbing and electrical systems, LED lighting, EnergyStar appliances, ceiling fans, new flooring and painting, and resilience measures including photovoltaic solar panels, emergency generators and a restored cistern system. Additionally, the site will receive a new senior center and recreation spaces to support residents, including a new playground, gardening and planting area, redesigned walkways and rest areas, basketball courts ballrooms and a renovated community center including a computer room and a library. The upgrades will include extensive storm protection measures, including the installation of a new facade system incorporating new hurricane-resistant windows and louver systems, as well as entry doors and storefronts.

Bright Path, a robust resident wellness and empowerment plan created by VIHA, will be implemented to provide support and services to residents through long-term funding included in the project budget.

“We are grateful to have participated in the funding scheme for the rehabilitation of the Walter IM Hodge Pavilion affordable housing development,” said Ben Levine, Senior Vice President of Merchants Capital, Originations. “Access to affordable, safe and high-quality housing continues to grow in importance in all regions of our country. Merchants Capital is grateful to the Virgin Islands Housing Authority and MDG Design + Construction for entrusting us with their support and enabling us to make a difference in the community.

Funding for the project includes $49.9 million in funding from the VIHA using FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and Risk Mitigation Grant programs and $22.65 million from the VIHA using the FEMA Public Assistance Program. HUD Community Development and Disaster Recovery Block Grant. The project has received 9% low-income housing tax credits, which together with the Solar Investment Tax Credit will generate a capital investment of $27.56 million from Goldman Sachs Bank. In addition, the Merchants Bank of Indiana provides a construction loan in the amount of $28.50 million.

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