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Miami Herald - January 24, 2008
housing developer files Ch. 11
Neighborhoods, a developer in Miami-Dade since 1985, and nine of its
affiliates have filed for bankruptcy protection.
BY PATRICK DANNER
Greater Miami Neighborhoods, a nonprofit developer of affordable
housing throughout Miami-Dade County since 1985, filed for bankruptcy
The developer succumbed to rising real estate costs and increased
competition for shrinking resources for low-income housing, people
involved with Greater Miami Neighborhoods said.
''We didn't do this lightly,'' said Helen Dunlap, hired last year as a
consultant by Greater Miami's board. ``We made this decision because we
believe it's consistent with the goal of preserving the properties and
Nine affiliates also filed Chapter 11, including entities that own six
developments in Miami-Dade County.
Greater Miami aims to seek court approval to transfer those properties,
with about 1,200 units, to Boston-based Preservation of Affordable
The bankruptcies aren't expected to affect tenants.
Greater Miami didn't provide figures for assets and liabilities. It
simply checked boxes on its petition indicating its assets were less
than $10 million and its liabilities were as much as $50 million.
For the year ending June 30, 2006, Greater Miami reported a loss of
$683,379 on revenue of $3.3 million. It listed assets of $44.4 million
and $19.6 million in liabilities.
In anticipation of the bankruptcy, the Miami-Dade County Commission
this month approved transferring Greater Miami's interests in 18
properties with 2,080 units to other parties, including Preservation of
Affordable Housing and Enterprise Community Investment of Columbia, Md.
The Urban League of Greater Miami then assumed the interest on three of
The Florida Housing Finance Corp. also gave a similar transfer
authorization on 27 properties for which it provided financing.
According to a November Florida Housing memo, the agency's ''financial
exposure'' to Greater Miami was $24 million -- none of which was
Greater Miami developed or managed more than 6,000 residential units
valued at more than $360 million, according to a brief description on
''The goal of the bankruptcy filing is fairly altruistic, and it's a
good mission,'' said Jonathan C. Vair, Greater Miami's bankruptcy
lawyer. 'The goal is not to disrupt the tenants' lives at all. In fact,
it's to maintain them and make them better.''
Last year, tenants at three Greater Miami properties in Naranja and
Cutler Ridge complained about piles of rotting garbage, rat
infestations and other poor conditions. New management was later
Among Greater Miami's creditors are Boston-based Housing Partnership
Network, whose affiliates provided funding for a senior-citizen housing
project in Miami and a multifamily project in Little Havana. It's owed
about $2 million, most of which it doesn't expect to get back.
''We make fairly high-risk investments, things that banks won't do,''
said Matt Perrenod, Housing Partnership's chief lending officer. ''When
the market turned, it became impossible to sustain the holding costs''
on those properties.