June 18. 2018 11:29PM

NeighborWorks completes 2nd phase of Whittemore Place

Union Leader Correspondent

The second phase of the Townhomes at Whittemore Place in Londonderry cost $7.1 million to build. Rents for the two-bedroom units in the second phase are about $1,125 a month. (Ryan Lessard/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY — NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire marked the completion of the second phase of an affordable housing project, which just added another 33 rental units.

The development, known as Townhomes at Whittemore Place, now has a total of 78 townhouse units. The first 45 units were created in 2015.

The second phase cost $7.1 million to build. It was funded by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, Eastern Bank and Raymond James, an equity investor.

Individuals and families who qualify for reduced rents have access to 30 of the new units, subsidized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The remaining three will be available at market rate prices.

The workforce housing project was originally approved in 2013.

Rents for the two-bedroom units in phase two are about $1,125 per month; three-bedroom units are about $1,400.

NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire Director Robert Tourigny said it could be filled in “just a couple of hours,” which was a reference to the state’s record low vacancy rates.

Officials with HUD, the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA), which administers federal housing subsidies, NeighborWorks and other local officials attended an event Monday afternoon recognizing the completion of the second phase.

The highest-ranking official at the event was HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude, who is a New Hampshire native.

“I know I’m home,” Patenaude said during the event. “I’ve never been to a ... ribbon cutting that has a farmer’s wall.”

She said the development was an example of best practices in affordable housing nationwide and is an example of overcoming the “not in my backyard” mentality some communities have toward workforce housing projects.

State Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, read prepared remarks at the event, saying these kinds of projects will attract more young families struggling to make ends meet, but critical to the state’s economic future.

Tourigny said the project was the culmination of conversations and meetings with the Londonderry Affordable Housing Task Force over the past several years.

“I think that this can serve as a model for other communities,” Tourigny said.

Dean Christon, executive director of the NHHFA, said there’s room for improvement with the time it takes between conception and creation of a project.

“I think we can always do better with that,” Christon said.

One of the ways he hopes to improve the process for developers in the future is with state legislation that sailed through the Senate with ease, but “got bogged down” in the House this past session.

The bill would have created a housing appeals board for developers facing regulatory roadblocks, helping them avoid the cost and time of dealing with the court system — the only current recourse.

Christon hopes the bill will get passed in the next session.