Construction is to start next week on a $24 million apartment complex near Southridge High School in Kennewick.
The 232-unit Copper Ridge Apartments will be on the southwest corner of Southridge Boulevard and Hildebrand Road.
Darin Davidson, managing partner of the Inland Group of Spokane, said the company hopes to offer quality, affordable housing for the general work force.
The area's low vacancy rate has pushed rents higher, Davidson said.
"A lot of people have been priced out of quality, clean housing because of supply and demand," he said.
The Tri-Cities' apartment market has been operating at an almost unprecedented vacancy rate of 1 percent to 2 percent for a couple of years, according to real estate experts.
In September, 97 percent of Kennewick and Pasco apartments were occupied, while in Richland, there was 95 percent occupancy, according to the most recent survey by Kennewick's Crown Property Management.
Davidson said the company saw a need in the Tri-Cities for housing for households that earn about 60 percent of the area median income.
That's about $40,080 for a family of four in the Tri-Cities, according to the online rent and income limit calculator from the accounting firm Novogradac & Company.
Rent for the one-, two- and three-bedroom Copper Ridge apartments will range from $650 to $900, Davidson said.
In Kennewick, the average rent ranges from $646 for a one-bedroom to $944 for a three-bedroom.
Inland Group expects to use $15.5 million from up to $17 million in tax-exempt bonds through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission to help pay for the Copper Ridge project.
The bonds were unanimously approved by the commission earlier this month. The state agency, which is operated at no cost to taxpayers, helps bring private investment dollars to projects that increase housing access and affordability.
The developer also expects to use about $6.5 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits, according to its bond financing application. That means 40 percent of its units must be reserved for households that make 60 percent or less of the area median income.
Inland Group acted as the contractor for the recently finished Island View Apartments in Richland. Copper Ridge Apartments will have a similar garden-style design, Davidson said.
The apartments will be arranged in 10, three-story buildings, according to the bond financing application. Each apartment will include a washer and dryer and have a patio or balcony.
The clubhouse will include a lounge, leasing offices, a game room and fitness center, and the complex will feature a heated outdoor swimming pool, playground and sport court.
The company closed on the property Thursday and already has its building permit.
The apartments are expected to be finished in March 2013.