Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) is bringing together seniors and families with a variety of housing options in its Coronado Park development in Eagle River, Alaska, a community within the municipality of Anchorage.
With a limited supply of affordable housing in the community, CIHA developed the first phase—Coronado Park Senior Village, a 56-unit affordable seniors housing building, and seven fourplex family workforce housing buildings—on the site of a rundown trailer park to meet the need. The second phase was slated to include for-sale townhomes from a private developer, but plans changed when the economy started to slow in Alaska in 2016.
CIHA revisited the plan and decided to develop the second phase to provide additional housing for seniors, the fastest-growing demographic in the state, and families. The mixed-income Coronado Park II is comprised of six affordable rental duplexes for families and a 27-unit senior housing building named Qintali View.
“The development of additional affordable housing options in Alaska is always important, but particularly with the economy in a slide and a global pandemic, it becomes even more pressing,” says Mark Fineman, CIHA vice president of development.
The second phase was completed in summer 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Despite not taking applications in person, CIHA received close to 400 applications for the 39 available units. The seniors units reached full occupancy within five months and the duplexes within three months.
As an Alaska Native organization and a tribally designated housing entity working on the traditional and current lands of the Dena’ina, CIHA focuses on place-knowing and honoring the area’s history in the naming of its developments. As part of that ongoing initiative, CIHA named the seniors building Qintali View because residents have views of Mt. Baldy, a landmark in Eagle River that the Dena’ina called qintali, which translates to large ridge.
With the second phase, CIHA also was able to add to the community’s existing green space, doubling the size and creating garden beds for all neighborhood residents as well as a plaza for gathering.
“The more substantial park really helps brand the Coronado Park neighborhood and becomes a focal amenity for everyone to enjoy, both actively and passively,” adds Fineman. “The park is a place to foster connections and relationships between neighbors.”
In addition, the development exceeds the state’s Building Energy Efficient Standard. Qintali View utilizes photovoltaic panels on the roof and south-facing exterior wall to supplement electricity needs in the common areas and exterior lighting. The system is designed to produce enough energy to offset $40 per unit per year, lowering CIHA’s operating costs and helping keeps rents affordable.
The $10.3 million development was financed primarily with low-income housing tax credits allocated by the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. and equity through R4 Capital. In addition, financing was provided by the state of Alaska, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Northrim Bank, the Rasmuson Foundation, and CIHA.
Additional partners on the development include architect Spark Design as well as general contractors F-E Contracting on Qintali View and Cook Inlet Housing Authority Force Account for the construction of the duplexes.