Developer: BRIDGE Housing Architect: Steinberg Architects

Major Funders: Union Bank; Silicon Valley Bank; Opportunity Fund; Sobrato Affordable Housing Fund; Housing Trust of Santa Clara County; City of Palo Alto; Santa Clara County Affordable Housing Fund/Stanford Affordable Housing Fund; California Department of Housing and Community Development; California Tax Credit Allocation Committee; California Debt Limit Allocation Committee; BUILD

PALO ALTO, CALIF.— Alta Torre provides 55 units of affordable seniors housing while complementing the adjacent Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life.

These developments along with new market-rate housing are the cornerstones of a new pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use neighborhood.

Developed by nonprofit BRIDGE Housing, Alta Torre has deep income-targeting, serving residents earning between 25 percent and 40 percent of the area median income. Twenty units are reserved as supportive housing for frail elderly individuals who could be placed in a nursing facility but want to remain independent as long as possible.

Area service providers will deliver or connect residents with vital services, including case management, in-home services, and nearby adult day care.

Designed with several green features, including a solar hot water heater, the $18 million development will open this summer.

“We're proud to bring affordable homes for seniors into this dynamic new community,” says Cynthia A. Parker, president and CEO of BRIDGE Housing. “Our BUILD affiliate led the community outreach and entitlement process to redevelop the former Sun Microsystems headquarters into a vibrant development with affordable apartments and market-rate townhomes—all in close collaboration and integration with the adjacent Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life.”

BUILD (BRIDGE Urban Infill Land Development) is an initiative with the California Public Employees' Retirement System to build in key urban infill locations.

Alta Torre is designed to work with the adjacent campus, which is anchored by the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. BRIDGE is providing a one-year membership to the center to all initial residents, giving them access to cultural programs and recreational facilities, including indoor and outdoor pools.

Financing includes 4 percent low-income housing tax credit equity from Union Bank and loans from the California Department of Housing and Community Development and Silicon Valley Bank. —Donna Kimura


John Halpern

Developer: Birchez Associates, LLC Architect: Kurzon Architects

Major Funders: New York State Housing Finance Agency; First Sterling; New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal; State of New York Mortgage Agency; Federal Home Loan Bank of New York; the Town of Esopus

ULSTER PARK, N.Y.— The Birches at Esopus is the first affordable housing community in the town of Esopus, an area encompassing 40 square miles with about 9,500 residents.

Overlooking the Hudson River, the new development provides 80 one- and two-bedroom apartments for seniors earning no more than 50 percent and 60 percent of the area median income.

Birchez Associates, LLC, an experienced Hudson Valley affordable housing developer, built an amenity-rich development where residents can age in place, says Steven Aaron, managing member.

Eight units are handicapped accessible, and all units are handicapped ready with roll-in showers installed. All units have emergency pull cords so seniors can call for help.

The development encourages an active lifestyle, with ample outdoor and community space. An exercise studio is staffed with a fitness coach. Understanding that isolation is a common issue for seniors, Birchez Associates also funds a senior advocate to lend a sympathetic ear and guide residents on services.

To assist in the residents' heath-care needs, the firm has teamed with nonprofit Elant, Inc., on the “Nurse Is In” program, which brings a nurse to the property for regular office hours.

The development is also notable for its green design. It has been recognized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for achieving more than 30 percent savings over the state energy codes. Solar panels provide about 70 percent of the domestic hot water for the building and 40 percent of the heat.

The $18 million development was funded largely by bonds from the New York State Housing Finance Agency, enhanced by the State of New York Mortgage Agency and low-income housing tax credits syndicated by First Sterling.

Additional financing partners include the New York State Housing Trust Fund through the Division of Housing and Community Renewal and the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. The town of Esopus and Birchez also contributed to the deal. —Donna Kimura


Peter Ansara

Developer: Korean Women's Association Architect: Environmental Works

Major Funders: Enterprise Community Investment; JPMorgan Chase; Department of Housing and Urban Development; State of Washington Housing Trust Fund; King County; City of Federal Way; Department of Energy; Enterprise Green Communities; Washington State Housing Finance Commission; Sound Transit

FEDERAL WAY, WASH.— Senior City Apartments addresses the housing and transportation needs of its elderly residents. A prime example of a transitoriented development, the community is built on surplus land left from the creation of the adjacent Federal Way Transit Center, a 24-hour hub for the regional transit system.

“This makes it possible for seniors to live a higher-quality life without complete dependence on a car for mobility and survival,” says Peter Ansara, executive director of the Korean Women's Association (KWA), the nonprofit developer. “Smart connections to the neighborhood and beyond make this project a national model.”

Besides being transit oriented, Senior City supports environmental sustainability. Green features include a unique mini-heat pump system that will reduce energy use by about 40 percent. The development used a new $250,000 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The $17 million development is home to the KWA Community Facility, which will provide a suite of social services to residents and more than 7,200 clients in the region.

To develop the 62-unit community, KWA combined a federal Sec. 202 capital advance with 4 percent low-income housing tax credits syndicated by Enterprise Community Investment and tax-exempt bond financing provided by JPMorgan Chase. Bond financing will be used during construction. There is no permanent debt. Common Ground was the development consultant.

As a Sec. 202 property, it has a Department of Housing and Urban Development project rental assistance contract rent of $442 per month per unit. While residents earning up to 50 percent of the area median income are eligible, the rental subsidies are providing opportunities for extremely low-income seniors earning much less. —Donna Kimura


Courtesy of Volunteers of America

Developer: Volunteers of America Architect: Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects

Major Funders: JPMorgan Capital Corp.; National Affordable Housing Trust; Major League Baseball Players Trust; Louisiana Housing Finance Agency; Department of Housing and Urban Development; the City of New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA.— Seniors displaced by Hurricane Katrina have found a home at The Terraces on Tulane.

Built by Volunteers of America (VOA), the 200-unit development is one of a small number of affordable housing communities funded by Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone housing tax credits that has finished construction and opened its doors. “The whole theme of coming home is what this is about,” says Patrick Sheridan, senior vice president of housing development.

VOA has had a large presence in New Orleans, and many of its properties were damaged in the hurricane, including the popular Forest Towers East. Not only that, the project's neighborhood was virtually abandoned, leaving no services for its elderly residents.

The nonprofit decided to rebuild at a different site. VOA secured a parcel in Jefferson Parish, but neighborhood opposition forced the team to look for yet another location. That meant the team would likely miss the deadline to begin construction and claim GO Zone depreciation. In response, VOA and others worked to change federal law to extend the start date for GO Zone projects.

Other moves were also necessary to replace Forest Towers East, an older Sec. 202 project that had a housing assistance payment contract. In order to make the new development viable, VOA needed some sort of operating subsidy to keep rents low. Working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, VOA utilized a littleknown Sec. 318 transfer program to transfer the operating subsidy to the new project. As a result, residents pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent.

When The Terraces on Tulane opened this year, 46 of the initial residents were from Forest Towers East. Many reunited for the first time since the hurricane.

The $41 million project was funded with about $31 million in tax credit equity from JPMorgan Capital Corp. and the National Affordable Housing Trust. JPMorgan also provided a permanent loan, and the Major League Baseball Players Trust contributed $250,000. —Donna Kimura