10 May Affordable housing developer thinks outside the box
Rick Gropper: Over the past several years, the economic development has really caused an increase in the amount of money it takes to live a comfortable life in New York City. Affordable housing is important to me because I’ve seen people being priced out of the areas that they work in.
Ron Moelis: There’s been more need for affordable housing as living costs have skyrocketed. There seems to be an insatiable demand for affordable housing, both for a moderate middle income class and also for some of the people who need places to live and don’t have the income to be able to even pay moderate or middle income rents.
Alan Wiener: When I met Ron, Ron was developing low income housing. Affordable housing is difficult to put together, and Wells has gotten the reputation in this market of being able to seamlessly put those transactions together and execute.
Ruthann Visnauskas: Creating affordable housing in New York City is very challenging. You have to be very creative, and you have to be very determined. It often takes five or ten sources of funding to create a deal, and that is not for the faint of heart.
Ron Moelis: Wells has been a great partner in the affordable housing world because they are able to think out of the box. Oftentimes, you can be as creative as you want – if you don’t have an equity partner or a lending partner who’s willing to work with you, and be creative with you, all your creativity doesn’t matter.
Duane Mutti: We have to bring a flexible approach to the financing. We deliver not only construction loans, we provide investments in low income housing tax credits. We have to understand the underlying needs of the project and of the community. These projects are very important to the city, and at Wells, we really think in order for Wells Fargo to thrive in a neighborhood, the neighborhoods have to thrive.
Rick Gropper: The greatest sense of satisfaction is seeing a building built, but it goes a step beyond that. It’s seeing people on the street, and looking at the different services that are brought to an area that complement housing. So we’re not only thinking about building housing, but we’re also thinking about building communities.
Ron Moelis: Having grown up in the New York city metropolitan area, and lived here for the last fifty some odd years, I’ve seen a city that’s very diverse, both ethnically and economically, and what we want to create and enhance is that diversity in this city.