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Rippowam Corporation

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Rippowam Corporation is the real estate development and asset management subsidiary of Charter Oak Communities (COC), formerly the Housing Authority of the City of Stamford. Prior to forming Rippowam Corporation (RC), in the late 1990’s COC partnered with a private firm to redevelop the Southfield Village development into the new mixed-income community of Southwood Square. This was enabled by the federal HOPE VI program for the revitalization of severely distressed public housing. COC gained valuable experience and developed internal capacity during this complex effort. When the opportunity arose to seek a second HOPE VI grant in 2003 to redevelop Fairfield Court, COC further expanded its capacity to undertake that multi-phase revitalization on its own. It chose this approach to keep the design and development processes and long-term ownership under local control, to ensure responsiveness to the concerns of residents and so that available funding and project revenue would be used to support affordable housing in Stamford.

Because entrepreneurial activities in which housing authorities are permitted to directly engage are limited, it is common for those wishing to participate in real estate development to form separate, corporate entities. For example, an authority’s affiliated entity may provide guarantees for mortgage loans taken to develop housing, while it cannot. This allows development to proceed while protecting its assets from claims by lenders. COC created Rippowam Corporation in 2003 to coordinate its real estate development and asset management activities. RC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so designated under 509(a)3 as a supporting organization. It is governed by a Board of Directors which must include a majority who are also members of COC’s Board of Commissioners. A majority of Rippowam board members are also commissioners, thus Rippowam is a fully-controlled instrumentality of COC. Rippowam Corporation exists solely to undertake development and asset management activities that support COC and its mission, and that benefits COC’s residents and others in Stamford in need of affordable housing.

Over the past twenty years, Rippowam Corporation has developed or substantially rehabilitated over fifteen large projects, primarily through public-private partnerships involving Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, private construction and permanent mortgage debt, State and City funds, deferred developer fees, utility company rebates, and sponsor financing. Individual properties are owned by tax credit limited partnerships with the general partners being single purpose, for-profit corporations under the Rippowam umbrella. Projects have included 100% affordable developments, mixed- income properties, and mixed-income/mixed-use developments. Rippowam Corporation provides asset management services for its own portfolio as well as for properties owned and managed directly by COC, totaling about 1,400 units. Asset management services include supporting the operations teams; monitoring occupancy levels, tenant accounts receivable, and status of any legal actions; assisting with marketing and property improvements to enhance marketability; long term capital planning and budgeting; coordinating major repairs and improvements; and repositioning properties as needed. Two tax credit properties have reached Year 15 and their partnerships have been restructured with the exit of the limited partner. More developments will reach this milestone in coming years, requiring negotiations to restructure existing partnerships.

Current development projects include the three-phase redevelopment of an affordable 166-unit townhouse development. The first phase of 61-units has recently been awarded 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and State capital funds, with closing anticipated in late 2023 or early 2024. Another project, the first round of the conversion of COC’s remaining federal public housing portfolio to HCVP under the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD) should close this summer, with extensive renovations and repairs to commence in the fall. The second phase of RAD will include all remaining federal units under the Streamlined Voluntary Conversion Program. Following this final conversion, substantial renovations at a 215-unit high rise for the elderly and disabled will begin.

Planning for those renovations has commenced.

Rippowam Corporation is the real estate development and asset management subsidiary of Charter Oak Communities (COC), formerly the Housing Authority of the City of Stamford. Prior to forming Rippowam Corporation (RC), in the late 1990’s COC…

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