On Friday, June 30, Phase II of the Conestoga North townhomes located on Chesapeake Street near South Duke Street in Southeast Lancaster, was officially completed, creating nine new units for low to moderate-income families. In total, this project yielded 18 new residences to fulfill a great need in the Lancaster community.
Phase I, which broke ground in August of 2020, was completed in late June 2021. All 18 units are currently occupied by local families who earn less than 80% of the area median income (AMI). In Lancaster County, a family income of no more than $66,400 qualifies at 80% AMI for a family of four.
The total project cost an estimated $7.5 million and was funded by a mix of public and private partnerships including grants from DCED, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHARE), federal Department of Housing and Urban Development Home funding through Lancaster City and State of PA, Lift loan from Tenfold (Formerly LHOP and Tabor), financing from Community First Fund, and conventional financing from LinkBank. With assistance from Community First Fund, SACA acquired the site on Chesapeake Street in 2017 for $320,000.
“This project represents so much more than the physical structures. This is a demonstration of our community’s commitment to invest in its people to provide them with safe, comfortable, and affordable places where they can create a life,” says Jose R Lopez, CEO of SACA and SACA Development. “The mission of SACA is to uplift and restore marginalized communities through human, economic, and social services while supporting cultural identities. And this is exactly what we have accomplished through the Conestoga North project.”
Units were sold in the price range of $155,000 -175,000. To buy one of the townhomes, families agreed to purchase the homes with a 15-year deed restriction. That restricts them from selling to other families with income limits. After 15 years, that restriction expires, allowing longtime owners to sell at market value and realize more equity.
SACA recognizes that while there are no simple solutions, public-private partnerships, like those that helped to build Conestoga North, are essential to growing the local inventory of affordable or workforce housing, specifically through ownership.