Al Scott has been a fixture in the home building and affordable housing industries for four decades. He’s been a pioneer in creating different types of housing, from single-family lease-purchase to affordable family and seniors communities. And he’s been a tireless advocate in preserving and strengthening the affordable housing industry’s premier financing program, the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC).
Most notably, Scott is the co-founder of one of the nation’s top affordable housing developers, Cleveland-based NRP Group, from which he retired in May.
But his career began with another Ohio housing industry pioneer, Jack Wallick. Right out of Michigan State with a degree in construction engineering, Scott attended his first National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) conference in 1973, where he met and was hired by Wallick, founder of Reynoldsburg, Ohio–based Wallick Construction.
Over 10-plus years, he worked to create housing across Ohio with a number of financing programs, including Sec. 8, Sec. 221(d)(4), Sec. 202, the Urban Development Action Grant, and the Housing Development Action Grant.
In 1986, he left Wallick to start his own business, Zaremba Development. There, he did his first LIHTC project, a single-family development, in 1990.
In the early 1990s, he was doing everything from custom homes to condos to tax credit deals, and he learned valuable lessons when he came close to bankruptcy.
“We didn’t have the infrastructure to do all the projects we had approved. We basically had too much work and not enough people to carry it out,” Scott says.
But the experience didn’t set him back. He met real estate consultant J. David Heller, and they started to do some LIHTC deals in Cleveland. They co-founded The NRP Group in April 1994, with Rick Bailey joining as a principal a year later.
Scott was in charge of development, Heller focused on financing, and Bailey headed up construction. The company, which started with just a handful of employees, has grown to more than 500 today.
It has developed more than 23,000 residential units, with 17,480 of those being affordable, in 13 states and has consistently ranked at the top of affordable housing finance’s annual top developers list since it began in 2007.
Although Scott sold his NRP Group shares to partners Heller and Bailey this past spring, he says he’s not one to sit around. He has four other companies that he owns and operates and is working on some LIHTC deals in North Carolina, where he lives in the winter.
Scott will remain on the NRP Advisory Board. A member of the NAHB for more than 30 years, he is a senior life director and a member of its Federal Government Affairs and Resolutions Committee. He is also a life director of the Cleveland Building Industry Association and past president and life director of the Ohio Home Builders Association.
He and his wife, Jodi, have two children, Jason and Christy.