NEW YORK – Local and State dignitaries and various stakeholders celebrated the groundbreaking of The Heights at Darien today in Darien, Connecticut. The 106 units of newly constructed public and affordable housing will replace 40 existing units at the former site of Allen O’Neill Homes. The new community will include 23 new townhomes and a community center. Completion is expected in 2014.

“Every family needs a safe, decent, affordable place to call home, and this project will help make sure that home is available to more than 100 additional families here in Darien,” Rep. Jim Himes said. “Thank you to everyone who made this project a reality – this is a perfect example of the role public-private partnerships can play in improving our communities.”

“This project marks another critically important step forward in keeping Connecticut diverse and vibrant as a community,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said. “Connecticut thanks Darien – as well as the developers and state agencies – for their faith and fortitude in pursuing this promising project and overcoming many challenges. As a state senator I came to know well the residents of Allen-O'Neill homes, admiring them for the longstanding dedication and commitment to Darien, and I am delighted to see this tradition along with the physical structure renewed and reinvigorated."

The project is being carried out through a unique partnership between private developers John McClutchy and Arthur Anderson, each of whom has a long track record in developing and managing low-income tax credit housing, and the Darien Housing Authority, the owner of the site. The developers will incorporate sustainable features throughout the development with a target of a Silver LEED certification. A community center will be added to the site and each unit will include a washer and dryer and new Energy Star appliances.

“Working in partnership with the Housing Authority of the Town of Darien to bring life back into its obsolete, sixty year-old Allen-O'Neill housing development has been a rewarding experience that will result in the creation of modern, residential living units that will reflect the lifestyle, architecture and character of the Town of Darien while providing a quality, affordable living environment for 106 families,” said John McClutchy, of the JHM Group of Companies. “The Heights at Darien is a prime example of what can be accomplished when we combine creative solutions with the willingness to collaborate.”

Construction and permanent financing, as well as low income housing tax credit equity, was provided by Citi Community Capital, Citi’s community development lending and investing group. Additional sources of funding were provided by the Darien Housing Authority, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development and the Town of Darien.

“Citi is pleased to be a part of this important project for the Town of Darien, which will provide a high quality option for 106 Darien households,” said Bill Mills, Citi, North America CEO. “We are committed to this project, start to finish, and are proud to deploy responsible capital to worthwhile undertakings like this.”

Jason Wilber, Vice President of The Richman Group Affordable Housing Corporation, which provided a $26,187,691 equity investment in partnership with Citi, said, “Richman is proud to be part of the team that will rebuild Allen O’Neill Homes as The Heights at Darien.” Mr. Wilber continued, “The project is an exemplary example of a transit-oriented in-fill development. The site is within walking distance to the Metro-North commuter rail and the design will double the number of housing units while preserving green space and the area’s suburban feel.”