Md. to share in housing program Rouse foundation, NationsBank form $100 million fund

February 27, 1993|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Maryland and eight other states will receive portions of a $100 million investment in low-income housing projects under a partnership announced yesterday by NationsBank Corp. and the Columbia-based Enterprise Foundation.

NationsBank Corp., the North Carolina-based banking giant, said yesterday it has created Nations Housing Fund as a joint venture with the Enterprise Social Investment Corp., a subsidiary of the non-profit affordable housing foundation that developer James W. Rouse created a decade ago.

Nations Housing Fund will take advantage of federal tax incentives established in the 1986 tax law to help create up to 100 affordable housing developments with as many as 4,000 units in the nine states served by NationsBank, which last week announced plans to buy Baltimore's MNC Financial Inc. That deal is expected to close by September this year.

"Housing -- or lack of it -- is one of the most fundamental elements defining the field of social opportunity for Americans," NationsBank chairman and chief executive Hugh L. McColl Jr. said at a news conference yesterday.

"By increasing the supply of housing that offers safety, comfort and pride available at affordable prices, we can help level that field for families with modest incomes," he said.

The partnership is not a lending program, the companies said.

Instead, it will make direct investments as a limited partner in projects that acquire, build or rehabilitate housing properties that qualify for the low-income tax credit.

In a statement issued yesterday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry G. Cisneros said "Hugh McColl and Jim Rouse have blended commitment with wisdom in making creative use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which already has brought nearly 600,000 homes to low-income families."

The project is part of the bank's Community Investment Program, which includes a $10 billion, 10-year commitment to community development lending that NationsBank, the country's fourth-largest banking company, made in 1991.

Under the Nations Housing Fund program, the Enterprise Social Investment Corp. will accept proposals from developers for projects that both qualify for the federal low-income housing tax credit, and meet the criteria the two partners established.

For 15 years from their date of completion, eligible projects must:

* Set aside at least 20 percent of units for households whose incomes are no more than half the median income in the area; or

* Set aside at least 40 percent of units for households with no more than 60 percent of the median income.

NationsBank and Enterprise said they would give a preference to non-profit developers, but will not reject proposals from for-profit bidders.

"Lots of banks are doing this, but in modest amounts," Mr. Rouse said. "It is a superb investment for the investor, and a superb investment for the United States."

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