An Upper Valley nonprofit housing group is trying to buy two subsidized housing complexes in West Lebanon, including the 50 units at Pine Tree Lane Apartments where tenants have been told the rental assistance available to them under the current landlord will expire at the end of the year. Twin Pines Housing Trust, based in White River Junction, is in discussions with the owner, David Hodges Sr., to also buy the adjacent Beechwood Lane Apartments to ensure that those 50 units remain affordable for the long term as well, the two parties confirmed in a joint statement. But the lack of certainty about Pine Tree Lane’s status as of January 2016 is creating anxiety for some residents, spurring a handful to move. The apartment complexes are located on an extension of Pleasant Street in a residential neighborhood of West Lebanon. The Pine Tree Lane residents received notice in late March that rental assistance tied to a mortgage for the property through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program is expected to expire at the end of this year. Twin Pines this spring reached out to Hodges, a New London resident, and his property manager, The Hodges Companies, to explore a possible purchase that would allow the low-income residents — seniors, families and people with disabilities — to retain the subsidies necessary for them to remain in their homes after Dec. 31. “The Hodges Companies and Twin Pines Housing Trust are exploring the sale of Pine Tree Lane and Beechwood Lane to Twin Pines,” the two parties said in a joint statement on June 16. “There is no certainty that the parties will be able to consummate a sale.” A confidentiality agreement prevents Hodges and Twin Pines from discussing the matter further at this time, the statement said. A Rural Development mortgage loan for Beechwood and associated rental assistance for residents there is not set to expire until Nov. 2028. Andrew Winter, Twin Pines’ executive director, declined further comment on Friday, citing the confidentiality agreement. Phone messages left for Alan Johnson, chief financial officer at Hodges Cos., at his office and on his cell phone last week were not returned. The statement from Twin Pines and Hodges may indicate the two parties have an option-to-purchase agreement in place or they may not have anything in writing yet, Bruce Waters, senior broker for Lang McLaughry Commercial, said. Waters is not involved in the transaction. “It’s a fairly normal statement to make when two parties are trying to work out the details,” Waters, who is based in West Lebanon, said. If they do have an option-to-purchase agreement in place, the buyer would need to do an appraisal and secure funding before progressing to a purchase and sale agreement, Waters said. The Pine Tree Lane apartment complex is valued at $2.4 million and Beechwood Lane is valued at $2.6 million, according to city property records. Should Pine Tree continue to be affordable housing, the Rural Development program is likely to remain a part of the funding picture, according to a key federal official monitoring the situation. “Rural Development is actively working with Hodges and with Twin Pines to make sure they know what tools Rural Development has available to retain these vital units of affordable housing,” Ted Brady, the Vermont and New Hampshire director of the Rural Development program, said. This year, the affordability of 60 properties across the country — totaling more than 700 units — are threatened by the maturation of mortgages through Rural Development’s Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loans, Brady has said. When the mortgages mature, the associated rental assistance for residents is no longer available, making the units unaffordable to most low-income residents.
top of page
bottom of page