FOSS CREEK COURT
Developer: Eden Housing Architect: BAR Architects
Major Funders: U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp.; City of Healdsburg; Sonoma County; Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco; Silicon Valley Bank; California Tax Credit Allocation Committee
HEALDSBURG, CALIF.—Before she moved into Foss Creek Court, Vivian lived for a year in a local homeless shelter—even though she works full time at a school cafeteria in nearby Novato.
“We live in such a high-cost place that you can have a job and not have a house,” says Linda Mandolini, executive director of Eden Housing, the nonprofit that developed the 64 affordable apartments at Foss Creek.
Foss Creek opened in July 2010. Within two months, the $21.4 million development was fully occupied and now has more than 100 names on its waiting list.
Healdsburg is in the heart of Sonoma County’s wine country, about a 90-minute drive from San Francisco. Foss Creek provides a home for people who work in the wineries, art galleries, and boutiques in the area.
Foss Creek is three blocks from the downtown shopping district. Next door, a condominium community sells units starting at $500,000.
The apartments are carefully designed so they fit with the affluent neighborhood.
Local officials supported Foss Creek from the beginning. The local redevelopment agency acquired the three-acre site and turned it over to Eden Housing—despite strong interest from for-profit developers. Foss Creek will help the town meet its requirement under state law to provide a certain amount of affordable housing.
The low-income housing tax credit development also features many green elements, earning a high rating of 106 on the regional GreenPoint certification system. —Bendix Anderson
MACKINAW RETIREMENT VILLAGE
Developer: RHL Partners, Inc. Architect: McCall-Sharp
Major Funders: Ohio Department of Development; Ohio Housing Finance Agency; Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing; Enterprise Green Communities; Nationwide Insurance Co.; City of Celina
CELINA, OHIO—The seniors at Mackinaw Retirement Village can grow old near the heart of this rural town.
These 32 apartments for low-income seniors are just two blocks from the town’s main street. The town’s senior center is a few blocks the other direction.
The apartments are built on the site of the old Mersman Tables Co. Before it was demolished, the massive, abandoned factory towered over the town. The concrete high-rise had proved impossible to renovate—and impossible to ignore.
“Windows had been broken out; we had several fires,” says Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue. “It was unsafe."
The new apartments are well constructed, built to meet the tough standards of the Ohio Green Communities Program for healthy living and energy efficiency.
“It’s a beautiful building,” says LaRue.
Since Mackinaw opened in December 2010, the community room has been busy playing host to outside organizations— from church groups to bridge clubs—as well as Mackinaw’s regularly scheduled seniors services.
At press time, more than half of the apartments had leased and traffic was high. More than half of the applicants are longtime neighborhood residents and have a personal connection to the factory.
This August, construction will start on singlefamily homes on the remainder of the 11-acre factory site.
Despite the financial crisis, the $4.5 million property received $2.9 million from the sale of its low-income housing tax credits to Nationwide Insurance through a special fund created by the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing. —Bendix Anderson
Developers: Vitus Development, LLC, and Ketchum Community Development Corp. Architect: Dale Bates, Living Architecture Studio
Major Funders: Idaho-Nevada Community Development Financial Institution, Inc.; Idaho Housing and Finance Association
KETCHUM, IDAHO—This small town next to the famed Sun Valley and its world-class ski slopes welcomed the 32 affordable apartments at Northwood Place—the area’s first all-affordable development.
“Northwood Place represents the culmination of years of focused effort,” says Randy Hall, mayor of Ketchum.
Northwood Place is in a commercial area near the center of town, next door to the new Wood River YMCA and the Wood River Valley’s free bus service. Large multimillion dollar homes stand across the busy street.
People living at Northwood Place add to the number of permanent residents in Ketchum, which has shrunk over the years as home prices swelled.
Ketchum’s officials were attentive to every aspect of construction.
“The building inspector was out at our project daily … for an hour every day,” says Rebecca Ralston, senior project manager of Vitus Development, LLC, a Seattle-based owner and developer who partnered on the project with Ketchum Community Development Corp.
Careful insulation and other energy-efficiency measures keep the energy costs low—one resident reported utility bills averaging just $20 a month this past winter, a fifth of the typical cost to heat and power a comparable apartment.
Nearly 300 photovoltaic panels supply electricity to the common areas.
The Tax Credit Exchange Program, created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided $7.5 million to the $9.4 million development. Other stimulus grant monies and a loan from the Idaho-Nevada Community Development Financial Institution, Inc., rounded out the financing.
Northwood Place opened in November 2010 and was 100 percent occupied within a few months. —Bendix Anderson
VINEYARD GREEN TOWNHOMES
Developer: Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc. Architect: The Paul Davis Partnership
Major Funders: Rabobank Group; Bonneville Multifamily Capital; California Department of Housing and Community Development; California Housing Finance Agency; California Tax Credit Allocation Committee; Greenfield Redevelopment & Housing Department; USDA
GREENFIELD, CALIF.—The Vineyard Green Townhomes is more than just 40 affordable units—it is the center of a new neighborhood.
“It’s clearly a well thought-out, expertly designed project,” says Paul Mugan, director of the Greenfield Redevelopment & Housing Department.
The apartments at Vineyard Green are the last phase in a subdivision of 58 affordable singlefamily homes, including 25 homes built with help from future residents.
People from the surrounding neighborhood come to the community rooms at Vineyard Green for art, literacy, and computer classes; after-school programs; Head Start; and a monthly health clinic.
Most of the residents at Vineyard Green, which opened in February 2010, work yearround at the area’s farms.
“We were at 100 percent occupancy the minute we opened the door,” says Dana Cleary, director of real estate development for Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc. (CHISPA).
The apartments are carefully built to save energy and provide healthy living spaces. They earned a high rating of 136 on the regional GreenPoint certification system.
During the economic downturn, Vineyard Green lost its initial low-income housing tax credit investor. But CHISPA was then able to sell the tax credits to Rabobank Group, a Netherlands-based agricultural bank that had recently expanded into the region. The bank paid $5.6 million for the credits and also provided a construction loan.
The city of Greenfield also contributed redevelopment funds. “The development easily exceeds our most optimistic expectations,” says Mugan. —Bendix Anderson