Winthrop’s new owners planning millions for big renovation

The potential new owners of The Winthrop hotel building are planning a $20 million renovation that will include a computer lab, a library, community space and a fitness room.

If Redwood Housing Partners LLC follows through, it would be the first to spend serious money on renovations since the building was converted from a hotel into apartments in the 1970s.

The details were contained in a financing summary submitted to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, which last week approved financing mechanisms that could provide Redwood up to $40 million to finance the purchase and renovation of the Winthrop.

The commission manages the state’s low-income housing tax credit. Developers raise capital by selling the credits to investors. Redwood received credits that could result in $12.2 million in equity, and also was approved for a tax-exempt bond of up to $28 million.

The Winthrop is eligible because Redwood plans to keep the 194-unit building in its current use: as low-income housing, with the units available to people who make 60 percent or less of the area median income.

Ryan Fuson, founder of Redwood, said Tuesday that he can’t comment on plans for The Winthrop until the sale closes, which could be by the end of April. The Winthrop’s current owner is a subsidiary of Prium Cos. Prium and its owners are in bankruptcy, which forced the sale.

Presumably the renovation will include replacing the building’s elevators, which date to the building’s opening in 1925. Some residents had to move out from 776 Commerce St. since the last working passenger elevator broke in early March.

The funding through the housing finance commission also will help Redwood buy the property for $8.5 million. The financing summary also indicates Redwood plans to use historic tax credits as well, to the tune of $4.8 million.