Dec. 7, 2010 06:02 PM
At its board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 8, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency will consider awarding a total of $15 million in tax credits to a controversial housing development, planned for the Mills Addition subdivision on the edge of downtown Lafayette.

At its board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 8, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency will consider awarding a total of $15 million in tax credits to a controversial housing development planned for the Mills Addition subdivision on the edge of downtown Lafayette. Sponsored by Acadiana Outreach Center with the mission of providing affordable housing near downtown, Joie De Vivre has been designed as a six-building, 72-unit mixed-use affordable housing complex that will cost approximately $16.5 million to build.

AOC's tax credit application for Joie De Vivre was submitted to the LHFA in September, requesting $1.5 million a year in credits over 10 years, a total of $15 million. Developers project they can sell those credits up front for approximately $12 million. The development has also received $1.25 million in state and federal grants, and plans to secure a $1 million loan from the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority and a $2.2 million mortgage, contingent upon being awarded the tax credits.

AOC originally planned Joie De Vivre as a larger, 10-building complex, but scaled back plans due to the $1.5 million cap on this year's tax credit applications and concerns from Mills Addition residents over the impact of such a large development on their historic neighborhood.

The development appears to stand a good chance of being awarded the tax credits. On Dec. 3, the LHFA published its draft funding round awards list for projects competing for this year's tax credit financing. The list ranks projects on a scoring system meant to determine how much a project addresses affordable housing needs in the area. Joie De Vivre scored a 92 out of 100, ranking third behind the Gold Seal Lofts and Bywater Art Lofts II, both in Orleans Parish, which scored 100 and 97 respectively. Those projects were three of the five recommended for tax credit awards totaling just over $5.4 million.