A new housing development in southwest Baltimore will provide an affordable and energy-efficient home for low-income senior citizens. The $16-million Greens at Irvington Mews development is comprised of 82 one-bedroom and 18 two-bedroom apartments, 10 of which are fully accessible, including two units with features for sensory-impaired adults.

The project was constructed by Harkins Builders to Enterprise Green Communities criteria, the first national framework for building green affordable housing and community buildings, and meets the standards for both LEED Silver mid-rise and Energy Star multi-family high-rise residential buildings.

The four-story development was designed by Hord Coplan Macht to fit in with the residential and commercial buildings of the surrounding neighborhoods while meeting strict sustainability requirements. Energy-efficient features include Energy Star-labeled windows, lights, bathroom exhaust fans, and appliances. The development exceeds code energy-efficiency levels by at least 20 percent, thanks to the installation of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) multi-split HVAC systems that provide efficient, zoned heating, and air conditioning.

Other sustainable features include low-VOC paint, Green Label-certified carpet, and water-conserving plumbing fixtures. Energy-efficient framing techniques were used to provide greater exterior wall insulation. In addition, the exterior skin of the building is comprised entirely of highly durable materials—a combination of brick, fiber cement lap siding, and cement fiber panels—all of which contribute to a reduction in energy costs.

The development also features more than 5,000 square feet of common-area space including a fitness center, TV lounge, computer center, community room, and hospitality suite. Residents have convenient access to shopping, public transportation, and medical facilities.

Senior populations are among the most vulnerable to the rising cost of living, says Enterprise Homes president Chickie Grayson, and the project will fill a critical need in the neighborhood. “Baltimore City’s seniors will benefit from living in this safe, accessible, affordable, and sustainable community,” she says.

The Greens at Irvington Mews was financed through public and private sector funds, Grayson says. Capital One Bank provided $13 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity through Enterprise Community Investment Inc.; $600,000 in permanent financing; and an $8.4 million loan during construction. Additional financing for the development was funded through Baltimore City HOME funds; Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP3) funds for land acquisition; Maryland Brownfield Remediation Incentive Program (BRIP) funds for land remediation; a deferred developer fee; and funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta.