An affordable housing complex in East Anchorage is set to grow

An affordable housing project in East Anchorage is on its way to expanding.

Cook Inlet Housing Authority plans to begin construction on the $14 million second phase of its Grass Creek North project in July, said Tyler Robinson, director of development planning and finance at the authority.

The board of directors of the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. approved funding for the expansion on Wednesday. AHFC approved $8.2 million in short-term financing toward construction, and a $2.9 million long-term loan for the project.

The project is also funded by CIHA, low-income housing tax credits, federal energy credits and the Rasmuson Foundation. New York-based R4 Capital is also an investor. Robinson said the housing authority is expecting to officially close on financing in mid-July.

The first phase of the Grass Creek North project, located just off Muldoon Road north of Fred Meyer, was completed in September. The coming 45-unit townhouse addition to the existing 52-unit development has been planned since the initial proposal for the complex.

“When we initiated the development, there was an extreme need and (rental) vacancies were well below 5 percent,” Robinson said when asked about need for the project. “While you’ve seen reports of overall vacancies in Anchorage rising, it’s been pretty flat for affordable units. We haven’t seen huge spikes within our affordable portfolio.”

Overall, rental vacancy rates in Anchorage just hit a 10-year high. That rate is also at a decade high statewide.

Also this summer, the housing authority will break ground on a 56-unit mixed-income housing project on Muldoon Road south of DeBarr Road at Creekside Center Drive.