The Woda Group LLC
- Written by: Eric Gundberg
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
The Woda Group LLC (TWG), headed by Jeffrey Woda and David Cooper Jr., is a company that understands how to utilize the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) in order to make a niche for itself in the industry and provide affordable housing to those who need it most.
TWG is nationally known for its diverse and high quality projects, and is currently ranked as the number 36 Multifamily Home Builder by the National Association of Home Builders. In addition, TWG has been ranked the ninth Affordable Housing Developer by Affordable Housing Finance Magazine and also earned the number 34 spot for Affordable Housing Owners in the nation.
TWG is based in Westerville, Ohio, but maintains operations in 11 states: Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. TWG has additional offices in Savannah, Ga., Baltimore, Md., and Louisville, Ky. TWG is a full service developer, builder and property manager. Ian Maute, vice president of development at TWG, says that the company has built over 6,000 units since its founding in 1990.
Maute adds that the company employs 350 personnel and is structured into three divisions. The Woda Group LLC is the parent organization that oversees all of the divisions. Woda Construction Inc. and Woda Management and Real Estate LLC build and manage the properties, respectively. The company maintains an impressive 95 percent occupancy rate on its properties, which is a testament to the quality of its buildings and management.
From Accounting to Construction
Maute outlines TWG’s history in the industry, “Jeff’s father was a builder, and he grew up in the housing industry, but became an accountant after attending Bethany College and earning his CPA. He worked for a large accounting firm for several years, but eventually came back to his true love: construction. His experience and knowledge of the intricacies of the tax code led to the company’s niche in Section 42 housing.”
TWG has worked on a number of high-profile projects and has garnered an even larger amount of recognition for one of its recent projects, the Sycamore House. The project entailed the transformation of a three-story historic school into a 40-unit senior living community. The building is on the National Register of Historical Places, and the company was committed to retaining as much of the 1920-building’s historical character as possible, even down to the retention of all of the school’s original wooden doors. TWG’s crews restored and reinstalled them, and even preserved their former classroom numbers. “We’re trying to salvage as much of the old wood and lumber as we can,” Ralph Reckner, an assistant director of field operations for TWG, was quoted as saying.
The 75,000-square foot Sycamore House includes a new 15,000-square foot addition. The finished project includes 25 units located in the restored building and 15 in the new addition. The building is located in the center of Durand, Mich., giving seniors access to nearby services and expansive views of the town through the project’s 8-foot by 10-foot pane glass windows.
The units average from 800 square feet to 1,160 square feet, and if seniors don’t feel like traveling into town, a number of services, including a beauty salon, are located on-site. The school’s gym was converted into a community room where residents can play games, relax with a good book in the library or visit with friends and family. The project won the 2011 Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation from the Michigan State Housing Authority.
2011 was a great year for awards at TWG. In addition to the Governor’s Award, TWG also won the 2011 Award of Excellence in Portfolio Preservation for its work on the Valhalla Ohio Portfolio I. The project costs totaled $16.8 million and included four family and two senior facilities, totaling 188 units. “We acquired six USDA RD [United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development] financed properties and completely rehabilitated them,” reveals Maute.
“They were older buildings and needed new roofing, siding, sidewalks, curbs, appliances, etc.,” continues Maute. “It was a lot of work, but it turned out beautifully. We are very excited about the success of this project. Preserving 188 units of Ohio’s affordable housing stock was very important to us.”
Looking towards the future, Maute is excited about where both the company and the economy are headed. “The industry is in a rebound as investors are coming back into the equity market; we’re hoping that things keep moving in that direction. If it does, we’ll try to move into a couple of new states in the region that fit our footprint. We’re also continuing to focus on developments in more urban settings.”
With over 6,000 units built on 150 properties in 11 states, TWG and the team of professionals assembled by Jeffrey Woda and David Cooper Jr. is poised to continue its impressive growth and develop award-winning projects. Its occupancy rates and recognition from state agencies and industry professionals are a testament to the quality of The Woda Group LLC’s impressive work.
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