Building permits and financing are in place for the
first apartments at Badger Mountain South in Richland.
The complex will include 276 units for low-income tenants
at 2555 Bella Coola Lane, south of the Country Mercantile on Ava Way, near
The city of Richland has issued grading and building
permits to Nor Am Investments, which is listed as the owner of the project. The
general contractor is Inland Construction, a Spokane-based company, which also
built the Badger Mountain Ranch apartments near the Westcliffe neighborhood in
The apartment complex will be called Copper Mountain and
is valued at $43.7 million. It is described as a multi-family housing facility,
with all 276 units designated for tenants with incomes up to 60 percent of the
area’s median income, as published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development, or HUD, guidelines.
HUD lists the annual median income for a family in the
Richland-Kennewick area at $72,800, which means families would have to earn
$43,680 or less annually to qualify for housing in the new complex.
Twenty percent of the units, or 55 in all, will be set
aside for people with disabilities.
To qualify for a home at Copper Mountain, tenants would
need their income verified in advance. “Affordable housing is extremely
important to every community in this region and across the nation,” said Kerwin
Jensen, community development director for the city of Richland. “The more we
have, the better it is for all residents.”
project sought financing from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.
After a public hearing in September, the financing closed in November.
new development will provide much-needed affordable apartments for working
families and seniors in the Tri-Cities, which, like other areas in the state,
is facing a shortage of rental housing,” said Karen Miller, chairwoman of the
Housing Finance Commission. “We’re pleased to be part of the solution through
estimated tax credit equity on the project is valued at $15.7 million, with
tax-exempt bonds of $24.5 million and taxable bonds of $7 million.
commission has the owner registered as Copper Mountain Apartments, a limited
liability corporation formed in September 2018 and registered at the same
Spokane address as Inland Construction. The registered agent on the project is
Scott Morris, who is Inland Construction’s general counsel.
to a notice for the public hearing held in Seattle, proceeds of the notes will
support a portion of the financing for the acquisition of land and the expected
$33.8 million cost of the complex. Representatives from Inland Construction
declined to comment on the project or provide a timeline on construction plans.
The Housing Finance Commission distributes federal
housing tax credits, which allow developers to raise capital by selling the
credits to investors. The commission said it has created or preserved affordable
homes for more than 334,000 people across the state in the past 32 years,
including providing the financing for more than 30 properties across Benton and
Franklin counties. This includes 2,840 rental units that were created or
preserved, and an additional 427 units through the nonprofit bond program.
Grading already is underway at the site in Badger
Mountain South, a growing part within Richland’s boundaries, east of Dallas
Road and north of Interstate 82.
The city recently revised its road impact fees that are
tacked onto home building permits to accommodate additional growth at Badger
Mountain South. The traffic impact district, including Badger Mountain South,
pays the highest fees in the city to offset the increasing population and
number of homes actively under construction from multiple builders and their
effect on city roads.
“Building and development of residential housing is a
very important part of the Tri-Cities community. It provides jobs and drives
the economy,” Jensen said.
Up until now, all residential properties at the site have
been single-family homes. “Badger Mountain South is intended to be
high-density, residential, with high numbers of homes and apartments,” Jensen
said. “This (Copper Mountain) project complies with the vision of the
developer, whether it’s market housing or affordable.”
The Country Mercantile is the only commercial development
currently in Badger Mountain South, but at least one sign announces future
development planned for the area from Kadlec Regional Medical Center.
Located on the outskirts of Richland, and near the border
of West Richland, Jensen believes Badger Mountain South neighbors looking for
more retail options nearby should be encouraged by the apartment project.
“From a commercial and retail standpoint, the residential
rooftops need to come first before anyone will invest in commercial activity.
There’s a threshold that needs to be met before developing retail,” he said.
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