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Sugar Estates Senior Affordable Housing Nearly Half Occupied Already

Sugar Estated

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The New Jersey-based company that partnered with the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) to create affordable housing for seniors said Thursday that it is proud of its work here.

The public-private partnership betweeen VIHA and The Michaels Development Co. of Marlton, N.J. created 80 units of state-of-the-art affordable housing for seniors living on the capital island.

Development partners Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) and Marlton, N.J.–based The Michaels Development Co. celebrated the grand opening of Sugar Estates Senior Affordable Housing with territorial government officials on May 20.

It is planned as the first step to rehabilitate neighborhoods across the territory andwas the first senior housing development built with VIHA as a co-developer on St. Thomas. Robert Graham, the executive director of the VIHA, said that Michaels Development came up with the design.

“We are so proud to be able to offer our seniors much-needed affordable housing in a modern state-of-the-art community,” said Noreen Michael, chair of the VIHA board of commissioners and president of the Virgin Islands Housing Revitalization Corp.

Some 32 units are already occupied and seniors with low to moderate incomes are eligible. Each unit is handicapped adaptable and features energy-efficient appliances.

Social services with a focus on wellness and resident empowerment through independent living will be provided, including medical screenings, nutritional counseling services, financial workshops, and social activities.

In addition to the services, amenities include laundry facilities, a large community room with a kitchenette, a computer learning center, and a living room that serves as a quiet reading and/or visiting space.

The $35.7 million development was financed primarily through 9% low-income housing tax credits allocated by the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority and syndicated by Riverside Capital.

Additional financing included Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority funds, VIHA disposition proceeds, and a Federal Home Loan Bank of New York Affordable Housing Program award.

Additional partners in the development include Prestige Building Co., which served as the general contractor, and Springline Architects, a local architecture firm.

Prestige and its subcontractors employed nearly 140 island residents during construction of Sugar Estate.

Interstate Realty Management, a sister company of The Michaels Development Co., will serve as property manager.

robert graham CROP

     VIHA’s Robert Graham

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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Sugar Estates Senior Affordable Housing Nearly Half Occupied Already