Breaking Ground Around the Country

July 19, 2010
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Rock Island, Illinois…On behalf of the administration of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) officials celebrated the groundbreaking of new federal stimulus-funded affordable rental housing to service Rock Island families with special needs.

IHDA invested $8.7 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to build Cascade Gardens, 70 rental homes, for families with at least one member who has a disability. “IHDA has invested stimulus housing funds to create an estimated 2,100 jobs (and counting) by jumpstarting construction on 1,750 affordable rental apartments statewide,” commented Gloria Materre, executive director. The Recovery Act created the financial incentive to jumpstart construction on Illinois developments that were stalled due to the collapse of the federal low-income housing tax credit market.

In addition, Cascade Garden families will have access to supportive services and activities. Construction is expected to be completed in August 2011.

Albany, New York…State and city officials joined Albany Housing Authority and Omni Housing Development LLC to break ground on the second phase of the South End Neighborhood housing revitalization project.

South End Revitalization Phase II consists of 43 units of new and rehabilitated affordable housing. To meet the needs of small families, four apartment buildings in a row house style with two-bedroom units are being constructed. In addition, four of the vacant historic row houses are being rehabilitated to meet historic preservation guidelines. Nine, three-bedroom single-family homes are being built to serve large families. Monthly rents for the units will range from $220 to $843.

Phase II apartments and homes are being constructed to comply with New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal’s (DHCR’s) Green Building Initiative and will receive NYSERDA’s Energy Star Labeled Home designation.

Financing for the $10.1 million revitalization project was provided to the housing authority from NYS DHCR’s Housing Trust Fund Corporation and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program. PNC Bank provided the construction and bridge loans and PNC Real Estate invested the tax credit equity.

Construction on phase II will continue through early 2011, and the units are expected to be occupied by summer.


East Kent, Washington…According to the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) executive director Stephen Norman, the $55 million revitalization of the Birch Creek Apartments in East Kent, Washington, has been completed and “the transformation has been dramatic. Nearly 900 workers along with banks and private investors, nonprofit service providers, and local, state and federal agencies have collaborated to make this possible.”

The project utilized a financing structure that leveraged both investor equity and long-term debt. A similar approach is now being proposed by HUD for use by housing authorities across the country.

In the first phase of the project, local service agencies partnered with KCHA to create Building Better Futures (BBF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of community residents. BBF was responsible for the development of the 20,400-square-foot family center and a 10,800-square-foot LEED Silver-certified youth center.

The project is enrolled as a 4-Star Build Green project. The Build Green scale, which measures the environmental sustainability of development projects, was developed by the Master Builders Association in partnership with several agencies.

At Birch Creek, the KCHA will be conducting a sustainability experiment. One of the buildings in the complex has been provided with additional resource conservation measures, including roof-mounted solar panels to pre-heat the domestic water supply, dual flush toilets, and triple-pane windows. The housing authority will track the energy and water consumption in this building and compare it with an identically configured building to assess the impact of these measures on consumption. It is expected that energy consumption in the “experimental” building will be close to zero.