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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-With $4 million in financing from the Miami office of New York-based Meridian Capital Group, a private investor, also based in Miami, is renovating and converting a rental property in the redeveloping area on the city’s west side into New River Condominiums. The average price of units is below $140,000.

The owner is taking advantage of a package of incentives designed by the city to encourage home ownership among low-income families. Without detailing the value of the incentives, Aryeh Kieffer of Meridian’s Florida office tells that this is the first deal Meridian has closed under what it calls the “pride of ownership” program. “We’re focusing on making clients aware of opportunities under the city’s incentive program,” he says.

Approximately 18 months ago, Meridian arranged a loan of just over $2.7 million to help foot the buyer’s $3.4-million cost of acquiring the 53-unit complex. It consists of six two-story buildings. The new $4-million, interest-only loan is priced over Libor and has a 12-month term with a six-month extension. “It represents about 80% of the borrower’s budget,” Kieffer says. “With a $2.7-million portion he paid off the original acquisition mortgage and is devoting the rest to renovation and closing costs. The new loan bridges the gap during renovation, which includes the installation of new kitchens and baths, plus other upgrades.”

While some of the City Redevelopment Agency’s incentives are aimed at builders and developers of vacant and infill land, others help buyers of residences. In conjunction with the city program, buyers can obtain end-user FHA mortgages with down payments of just 3%. Kieffer says the average unit in the New River complex is 675 sf, and the project is more than 60% sold.

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