The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) announced today it is committing up to $3 million to Xenolith Partners LLC (Xenolith), a certified minority- and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) company focused on developing affordable housing. CPC’s commitment of funding and partnership with Xenolith is aimed at helping the company scale its business and expand the supply of much needed affordable housing. CPC is actively seeking pathways to help expand the capacity for M/WBEs in New York City and State by investing in the growth of organizations like Xenolith who share a mission of using a community-based approach to expanding the supply of affordable housing and improving overall housing quality. While this is CPC’s first partnership with an M/WBE development company as an equity investor, its goal is to continue to provide this kind of flexible capital to M/WBE developers across the state.
“It’s going to take an all hands on deck effort to meet the historic goals of both the New York City and State housing plans, and that effort should include the M/WBEs that work and hire in our communities,” said Rafael E. Cestero, President and CEO of CPC. “Our aim is to provide flexible capital that will enable Xenolith to compete for projects concurrently, expand their capacity and grow their business. We’re excited about this new opportunity to partner with Xenolith, and hope to replicate this model with other M/WBE developers in the future.”
HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer said, “Every qualified business venture deserves a fair shot at success, and partnerships like these help jumpstart the growth of MWBEs, which play a key role in the affordable housing industry. Over the years, HPD has launched programs and invested resources to help expand opportunities for minority and women owned business enterprises. To that end, we applaud today’s announcement and CPCs unwavering support of M/WBEs. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with these groups in future affordable housing endeavors.”
“Xenolith is excited about this unique opportunity to access capital for affordable housing development in New York City, capital that is otherwise very difficult to come by for M/WBE developers. For the past few years, its principals have been actively engaged in efforts to lower barriers to entry and improve access to business opportunities and capital. Xenolith is honored to partner with CPC in its pioneering commitment. In keeping with their core values of respect, trust and collaboration, CPC is helping to pave the way for a more diverse and deeper pool of developers in New York City,” said Terri Belkas-Mitchell and Andrea Kretchmer, founding Principals of Xenolith Partners LLC.
Xenolith is actively pursuing several projects in the Bronx and Brooklyn as part of their partnership with CPC. The company will be targeting affordable, workforce, and/or mixed-income multifamily rental properties in New York City of approximately 50-150 units which may include both ground-up development and acquisition-rehabilitation projects. CPC’s capital commitment and partnership will help provide Xenolith with:
- Pre-development equity to pursue multiple projects concurrently;
- Construction/permanent equity, as needed;
- Enhanced balance sheet capacity for guarantees and other credit support; and
- An established and experienced partner that can be a resource on many fronts throughout the pre-development and development process.
Xenolith is a woman-owned affordable housing development company, formed in 2016 by founding Principals Andrea Kretchmer and Terri Belkas-Mitchell. The company, a New York City certified M/WBE, is focused primarily on the development of affordable, mixed-income, and mixed-use projects that revitalize communities and provide quality housing opportunities. The founders have over 17 years of combined experience in affordable housing development and finance and over 400 units in their portfolio, with several hundred units in predevelopment. To date successful projects have included new construction, affordable preservation, historic adaptive re-use, and brownfield remediation.
CPC believes that supporting emerging, neighborhood-based developers, including M/WBEs, is essential for ensuring long-term stability and affordability in New York’s communities. Increasing the participation of M/WBE’s strengthens competition in the broader development industry, and creates new economic benefits within communities where many of these smaller firms employ a local workforce.
Unfortunately, many M/WBE developers often lack the access to capital and/or the track record necessary to compete with larger established development firms. Additionally, the third-party capital that has traditionally been available to M/WBEs to bridge these gaps often comes with financial terms that make it difficult for emerging developers to build up their balance sheets for the next deal and achieve scale in general. CPC is looking to level the playing field by providing access to flexible capital that will allow M/WBEs like Xenolith to be competitive in the marketplace, increase their capacity and grow their business at scale.
Both New York City and New York State have implemented housing plans that are pushing forward at historic levels in terms of both amount of housing production targeted as well as resources being made available. Over the next decade, billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidy will be invested in building and preserving affordable housing in our communities. In order to meet the ambitious goals of these housing plans, it will be essential to have a diverse and deep pool of development companies who have the capacity and experience to build and manage our affordable housing stock.
About The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)
Established in 1974, CPC is a nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company that believes housing is central to transforming underserved neighborhoods into thriving and vibrant communities. We provide innovative capital solutions, fresh thinking and a collaborative approach to the often complex challenges that owners and developers of multifamily housing face. To date, CPC has leveraged approximately $9.7 billion in private and public investment to finance more than 170,660 units of affordable housing. Our work with our partners has helped revitalize countless neighborhoods throughout New York, and provided quality housing for families, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities.
About Xenolith Partners LLC (Xenolith)
Xenolith Partners LLC is a woman-owned affordable housing development company. Formed in 2016 by founding Principals Andrea Kretchmer and Terri Belkas-Mitchell, Xenolith prides itself on its strong relationships, breadth and depth of expertise, and ability to execute. Xenolith is focused on the development of affordable, mixed-income, and mixed-use projects in Connecticut and New York that will revitalize communities and provide quality housing opportunities for all. The principals of Xenolith Partners LLC have over 17 years of experience in affordable housing development and finance and over 400 units in their portfolio, with several hundred more in predevelopment. Xenolith has successfully developed a broad range of projects including new construction, affordable preservation, historic adaptive reuse, and Brownfield remediation.