Developers: The Arker Cos., The Domain Cos., and Neighborhood Housing Services of Staten Island Architect: DHK Architects

Major Funders: Centerline Capital Group; Citi Community Capital; Freddie Mac; New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal; New York State Affordable Housing Corp.; New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.—Natasha Chapman lived at Markham Gardens back when it was one of the most run-down properties managed by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

Now she's a homeowner at the new Markham Gardens, a $65 million community of 240 apartments and 25 two-family for-sale homes.

In 2003, NYCHA closed the old Markham Gardens, a rambling complex of cinderblock buildings originally built in World War II.

Developers The Arker Cos., The Domain Cos., and Neighborhood Housing Services of Staten Island met extensively with former residents and neighbors as they crafted their proposal to redevelop the project. At their request, the developers preserved dozens of old trees on the 13-acre site and kept an original building, the old boilerhouse, which serves as a community center with an indoor basketball court.

“That surprised a lot of people ”¦ and won a lot of people over,” says Matt Schwartz, principal and co-founder of The Domain Cos.

To build Markham Gardens, the developers used tax credits, a tax-exempt bond mortgage, and $17 million from the sale of 421-A certificates, purchased by for-profit developers during the housing boom for the right to build luxury housing in enclaves of New York City.

The new Markham Gardens was also a pilot project for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes. The property earned silver certification.

The 202 households living at Markham Gardens when it closed had a right to return, with the help of additional rental subsidy if needed.

The final part of the master plan—the forsale homes—was finished in September 2010. The last buyers are expected to close on their homes this summer. —Bendix Anderson   


Developer: Human Solutions, Inc. Architect: Myhre Group Architects

Major Funders: Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Oregon Housing and Community Services; Portland Housing Bureau; Multnomah County; City of Gresham

GRESHAM, ORE.—Providing many resources and uses, The Rockwood Building will house six social services agencies in the storefronts lining its ground floor as well as 47 apartments for families, seniors, and formerly homeless people on the top two floors.

“This was a dream for us ”¦ to provide an innovative mix of services all in one place,” says Sarah Zahn, director of housing for nonprofit developer Human Solutions, which will move its own social services center into the building. At press time, the property was scheduled to open Aug. 1.

The other five groups to be housed in the building's 25,000-square-foot ground floor commercial space include a medical clinic, a mental health counseling center, a family services center, three classrooms for a Head Start program, and Loaves and Fishes, a food program for seniors.

The residents of The Rockwood Building also will benefit from its location in the heart of Gresham, a small city about a half-hour east of Portland. A major commercial road is a few hundred feet away, along with a light-rail station.

Human Solutions used 30 different funding sources to build the $17 million property.

After the original investor dropped out during the financial crisis, Bank of America Merrill Lynch bought the property's low-income housing tax credits for $0.72 on the dollar in 2010. Bank of America also bought the property's $4.8 million reservation of New Markets Tax Credits.

City, county, and state agencies chipped in loans and grants, and the project also received 13 foundation grants, including $400,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Our stakeholders were brave during the financial meltdown to remain faithful to this project," says Zahn. “We needed everyone to be committed.” —Bendix Anderson   


Developers: Gorman & Co., Inc., and the Northwest Side CDC Architect: Gorman & Co.

Major Funders: Boston Capital Corp.; Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; Wisconsin Department of Commerce; Illinois Facilities Fund; City of Milwaukee; Harris Bank

MILWAUKEE—The children who will be living at Villard Square Grandfamily Milwaukee should never be short of something to read. They will live over a public library.

Villard Square will have 47 affordable apartments on its top three floors, with a 14,500-square-foot branch of the Milwaukee Public Library on the ground floor.

“We're building an automatic community center for the apartments,” says Tom Capp, COO for developer Gorman & Co., Inc.

Villard is a “grandfamily” property, which means the apartments are marketed mainly to grandparents raising their grandchildren.

The goal, when possible, is to eventually reunite each grandfamily with its absent parent.

Villard Square has a variety of apartment sizes, so that a reunited family could move into a larger apartment or split into two smaller ones.

Thirty grandfamilies and 30 other lowincome families have already applied to live at Villard Square, even though the doors won't open until Aug. 1.

A social services coordinator will help the families connect to a wide range of counseling and educational services.

The library will also provide a long list of programs to the community, from story times to language classes.

Boston Capital paid $5 million for the lowincome housing tax credits. The $9.8 million development also received Community Development Block Grants, including $300,000 from the city and $900,000 from the state. —Bendix Anderson