New Fix

Unsold condominiums, unrented apartments, and stalled construction sites will be turned into affordable housing under a $20 million program launched by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Officials hope that as many as 400 affordable units will be created under the Housing Asset Renewal Program (HARP). In order to be eligible for funding, a proposed project must be a completed or partially constructed, unoccupied residential building where, due to market or construction conditions, the owner is unable to complete construction or to sell or rent a sufficient number of units to meet private lending requirements. Applicants must agree to restrict rents or sales prices for a minimum of 50 percent of the dwelling units in return for HARP subsidy and/or permanent financing. The applications will be accepted through December. —Donna Kimura 

Small Loans

Alliant Capital and Centerline Capital are opening small loan divisions dedicated to the multifamily industry in hopes of filling what has become a glaring void in the debt market. “There aren’t a lot of places you can go right now to get a decent execution on a small loan,” says Jerry Anderson, an executive vice president and principal of Alliant’s new small loan division. Alliant’s new platform will process loans ranging from $500,000 to $5 million, and the company hopes to win borrowers over with reduced fees. Meanwhile, in September, Centerline’s Agency Lending Group launched its Small Loan Solutions division. The company offers loans ranging from $1 million to $5 million through a Fannie Mae execution. Centerline will first target California and Northwest markets but also has plans to look East. —Jerry Ascierto

Setting Up Shop

Fed up with crime at apartment communities, police departments are starting to address the problem in an interesting way: They are moving in. At the Magnolia Trace Apartments in Florence, S.C., crime had gotten so out of hand that the building’s property manager furnished an unused unit and donated it to the Florence Police Department’s Community Action Team to use as an office. Within two weeks, gang problems subsided. Meanwhile, in East Austin, Texas, after gang activity boiled over and resulted in a police shooting at the Walnut Creek Apartments, the Austin Police Department parked its mobile command station at the property. After two weeks, there was a huge improvement in safety and security. The presence of police officers alone seems to be a deterrent in many cases. —Les Shaver

Totally Virtual

Credit: The Related Cos.

Since President Bill Clinton signed the Electronic Signatures Act in 2000, the race has been on in multifamily to achieve a completely virtual, out-of-beta online leasing program. Pilot programs have been rolled out by all the industry bigwigs, but it looks like New York-based The Related Cos. has achieved the impossible, announcing this summer the availability of its fully- virtualized online leasing platform across the company’s portfolio of 21 luxury apartment communities in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. “We are making it available as an enhancement to the potential resident experience and part of our brand promise,” says Related Management president Jeff Brodsky. “The nature of luxury is to have your choice.” —Chris Wood