2014 LIHTC Development that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact

Winner

Fairfax Intergenerational Housing

Developer: Western Reserve Revitalization & Management Company and Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation
Owner: Fairfax Intergenerational Housing LP
Location: Cleveland

2014 Developments of Distinction Major Community Impact Winner Fairfax Intergenerational Housing

The winners of the 2014 LIHTC Development that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact Award are Western Reserve Revitalization & Management Company and Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, for their development of Fairfax Intergenerational Housing (FIH) in Cleveland. The developers leveraged $4.5 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to create affordable and specialized housing for intergenerational households, which consists of people 55 and older who have legal custody of their grandchildren. Donovan Duncan, director of real estate and development at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, the management agent for the development, says FIH is the first of its kind in Cleveland and one of six developments in the country that serve intergenerational families.

Duncan says the development of FIH will particularly benefit intergenerational families in Cuyahoga County. Financing partners say nearly one-third of the 13,000 intergenerational families in Cuyahoga live below the poverty line. Many households face poverty because of the complex nature of intergenerational families, which are often formed as a result of emergency situations such as parental substance abuse, incarceration, debilitating health issues, death, military deployment or poverty. Intergenerational families also face limited housing options because many senior-designated buildings do not allow grandchildren as residents. By offering 40 affordable townhomes, FIH will help address the housing needs of this population.

Fernando Bonilla, whose design of FIH was the result of a national design competition, designed the townhomes of FIH to face a shared courtyard to promote interaction and the feeling of inclusiveness. Bonilla envisioned a safe and supportive community and designed FIH with child-friendly outdoor space, indoor spaces that addressed senior accessibility needs and a community center that provides social services. The community center at FIH also offers grandparents the opportunities to interact with and learn from other grandparents who are in similar situations. Residents are within walking distance of commercial and retail developments, the cultural hub of Cleveland, several major medical centers and local schools.

FIH is also a winner of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials 2014 Agency Awards of Merit.

“The creation of this community that provides for a family system that is more common in today's culture and which enables children to grow up in a community where their nuclear family is ‘normal’ within their home environment is a tremendous accomplishment by the development team,” said Phillip Melton, a 2014 Community Development Awards judge.

Honorable Mention

Columbus School Apartments

Developer: The Woda Group Inc.
Owner: Columbus School LP
Location: Baltimore

2014 Developments of Distinction Honorable Mention Major Community Impact Columbus School Apartments

The honorable mention for the 2014 LIHTC Development that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact Award is The Woda Group Inc., for the development of Columbus School Apartments in Baltimore. The Woda Group received $9.7 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) and $1.9 million in historic tax credits (HTCs) to transform the blighted school building into affordable housing space. The Woda Group also collaborated with the National Park Service to preserve the Romanesque Revival architecture of the building.

Julie Paul, director of marketing at The Woda Group, says the development of Columbus School Apartments will have a profound and significant effect on the local community. In addition to preserving a historic property and offering 50 large and modern units of affordable housing, the development will also feature a computer lab and educational center for the local community.

“This development was an historic renovation of a vacant, dilapidated school with classic Romanesque architecture; and with extensive community support, developed 50-plus units of affordable housing and infused $13 million in investment. Clearly an impact on the community it is situated in,” said Rochelle Lento, a 2014 Community Development Awards judge.

Honorable Mention

Victory Gardens

Developer: Women's Institute for Housing and Economic Development
Owner: Victory Gardens Housing LLC
Location: Newington, Conn.

2014 Developments of Distinction Honorable Mention Major Community Impact Victory Gardens

The second honorable mention for the 2014 LIHTC Development that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact Award is the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development for developing Victory Gardens in Newington, Conn. The developer received more than $17.1 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to fund Victory Gardens, which provides 74 affordable permanent housing units to veterans and their families who are or at-risk of homelessness. Additionally, on-site clinical and case management services are also offered to residents.

Maureen Mullady, marketing manager at the National Equity Fund Inc., syndicator of the development, says that the creation of Victory Gardens will help advance state and federal initiatives to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Victory Gardens also offers numerous supportive and health services, including legal and social services, medical, dental, meals and recovery groups.

“Housing veterans and their families can allow them to experience positive support from the surrounding community, which can potentially reduce medical costs and a variety of other obstacles that plague them and the neighborhoods they live in,” said Flynann Janisse, a 2014 Community Development Awards judge.

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