Courtesy Beacon Communities

Highpoint Towers has long served seniors and people with disabilities in Erie, Pennsylvania, but, after more than 40 years, the affordable housing community was in dire need of rehabilitation.

Beacon Communities, which acquired the property in 2017, has ensured that it will continue to serve the area’s most vulnerable. The firm has addressed the 132-unit building’s pressing physical needs and introduced valuable resident programs.

“People use the word transformative so often, but this truly has been a project where we took on a huge challenge and opportunity to transform the physical space along with the lives of the residents,” says Gina Martinez, senior development director at Beacon. “… The failing building environment was failing them. By taking every opportunity to create space that will serve the residents and address their needs, we now can transform their lives.”

The rehab included replacing the roof and major building systems, installing a new curtain wall system with windows, updating the apartments, and establishing new common areas for resident services. In addition, a parking deck that was showing signs of structural failure was demolished, and the property’s sustainability was enhanced with plumbing upgrades and Energy Star-rated mechanical and electrical equipment.

Courtesy Beacon Communities

Beacon’s renovations also added seven fully American with Disabilities Act-compliant units.

Highpoint is connected to Saint Vincent Hospital by a sky bridge, and two commercial floors at the property are leased to the hospital for offices. Despite the physical proximity, there were no coordinated services for residents. Beacon has changed that by adding new amenity spaces and introducing an array of programs in collaboration with local partners.

In another move, the team has renewed the property’s Section 8 contract under the Mark-Up-to-Market program, locking in rental subsidies for 35 years.

Financing for the $25.5 million project included low-income housing tax credits and Capital Magnet Funds.