Southgate in Scarborough, ME, won a 2021 Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award in the Rural Area category.
Southgate, developed by Avesta Housing, is a historic landmark repurposed to create affordable housing in a high-cost, growing community. The town of Scarborough has the third-highest percentage of renters spending 50 percent or more of their incomes on rent in the state of Maine.
Southgate provides 38 much-needed affordable homes for individuals and families with incomes between 30 and 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), with 8 of the homes reserved for people who have experienced homelessness. Southgate consists of studio, one-, two, and three-bedroom apartments in two separate buildings: 8 homes are located in a rehabilitated brick historic farmhouse and 30 homes are located in a newly constructed building. Development was funded with multiple resources, including the 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), a combination of Affordable Housing Program awards from two different Federal Home Loan Banks, federal and state historic tax credits, tax increment financing, below market debt, a sponsor loan, and a grant. Syndication for the property was provided by Boston Capital.
Southgate was renovated from a historic farmhouse built in 1805 by Robert Southgate. As one of the town’s oldest surviving structures, the property is a Maine landmark and a key part of Scarborough’s cultural heritage. Before Avesta Housing began renovations, the farmhouse had been reconfigured many times, leading to significant deterioration and rendering most of the buildings uninhabitable. Avesta Housing’s restoration included a front porch transformed into a covered community space and the renovation of original fireplaces. Southgate is the first-ever adaptive reuse of a farmhouse in Maine and stands as one of the best examples of a preserved, Federal-style brick farmhouse in New England.
Residents of Southgate benefit from access to an on-site resident services coordinator, caseworker support, English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, food and meal services, cooking and nutrition classes, public safety education, and civic engagement opportunities. The property is centrally located in downtown Scarborough in proximity to retail stores, schools, public transportation, public trails, and a beach.
By utilizing the skills of a carefully selected group of collaborators, Avesta Housing was able to design and construct the rehabilitation of this iconic historic landmark in a way that preserved as much of the building as possible while creating affordable housing for residents of Scarborough who needed it most.
Remarks from U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME)
Senator King shared in a congratulatory video, “This is a big deal for us, for Maine, and I know for Avesta. They are an invaluable member of our southern Maine community, and the Southgate House project is a really great example of creative use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit… I don’t have to tell you how important housing is right now – more important than ever… thanks for what you’re doing.”
Hear more from Senator King in his congratulatory video:
Statement from U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
“Congratulations to Avesta Housing on winning the Rural Area Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award for their outstanding affordable housing development at Southgate in Scarborough. I am delighted that the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition has recognized Southgate as a national leader and model for the nation,” said Senator Collins. “By utilizing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Avesta was able to renovate and restore this farmhouse, which dates to 1805 and is one of the town’s oldest surviving structures – addressing current housing needs while preserving this historic property. In addition to providing housing, Southgate fosters a community and offers a range of supportive services. Again, I congratulate and commend Avesta and the Southgate development for this well-deserved recognition.”
Recognition from U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1)
Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) provided Southgate with a letter of congratulations, and also stated, “Southgate not only continues Avesta’s dedication to affordable, quality housing, it preserves and restores an iconic Maine landmark. This project, as with so many of Avesta’s others, will build community and help more Mainers thrive. As our state and nation face an affordable housing crisis, I am proud to support the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that made Southgate possible.”