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November 17, 2022
OZFund is committed to creating sustainable housing
The OZFund provides a path for investors to support local communities and seeks to encourage investors to support low-income communities by investing in OZFund. For its first proposed project, OZFund has acquired a large property on South Queen Street in Lancaster, an Opportunity Zone. The property will be developed into 52 reasonably-priced apartments and 6,700 square feet of commercial space.
Learn more about this exciting new project through this special feature.
Recent studies show a typical employee working 40 hours a week is unable to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the nation. The U.S. has faced a major rental housing crisis for too long, and Lancaster is similarly presented with an urgent challenge when it comes to rental opportunities for working families. In the last 60 years, rising housing costs have far outweighed income, resulting in many renters spending more than 30% or more of their income on housing.
One solution to the rental housing crisis in Lancaster is the OZFund, Inc., a property developer with a community focus and a mission to transform distressed neighborhoods in Central Pennsylvania into thriving economic hubs and rental accommodations for working families.
The OZFund is a Qualified Opportunity Fund (QOF), a fund that facilitates investments in Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) identified as experiencing economic hardship and in need of stimulus. QOF’s like the OZFund help to rehabilitate these regions while also providing investors with certain tax advantages and benefits. For example, Investors holding their investment in the OZFund for at least 10 years will be able to exit the investment tax-free, yielding significant tax savings. Warehaus is a multi-disciplinary, award-winning team of architects and designers with a 40-year legacy in Central Pennsylvania.
The first OZFund project is a large property located at 800 South Queen Street (formerly Rebman’s warehouse), a designated QOZ. To help design the project, OZFund selected Warehaus as their design partner. By working side by side, Warehaus complements OZFund’s expertise to create a well-crafted solution built on collective insights and collaboration. Harrisburg-based Steel Works Construction was selected as the project manager and general contractor.
800 South Queen will be a four-story mixed-use building that includes Rebmans Fresh Market, a convenience/grocery store on the first floor that will feature fresh, locally sourced foods prepackaged for convenience. The remainder of the building houses 52 workforce family rental units—a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. Each apartment offers a built-in washer/dryer, Wi-Fi, parking, and security. Ample onsite parking is available for both tenants and customers visiting the grocery store, as well as bicycle storage and easy pedestrian access. The property’s environmental focus is best showcased in the vegetative green roof, featuring raised beds for growing fresh vegetables and flowers as well as serving as a treatment for stormwater runoff.
Affordable housing contributes to the well-being of both parents and children. It frees up funds within families’ tight budgets to spend on healthcare and food and is also important to the economic vitality of communities. Affordable homes can attract and retain employees to the community—a selling point and a competitive advantage for area employers—and having a healthy mix of housing options, from market-rate to affordable rental housing, ensures opportunities for all individuals to improve their economic situation and contribute to their communities.