NAHMA Announces 2017 Vanguard Award Winners

Alexandria, Va., Aug. 3, 2017 ― The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) announces the winners of its annual Affordable Housing Vanguard Awards. These awards recognize newly developed or significantly rehabbed affordable multifamily housing communities that showcase high-quality design and resourceful financing.

The excellence exhibited throughout these multifamily developments belies the notion that affordable housing cannot be assets to their communities. Vanguard Award winners deliver powerful proof that affordable housing done well can transform neighborhoods as well as the lives of individual residents.

Winners of the Affordable Housing Vanguard Awards will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the NAHMA fall meeting in October in Washington, D.C.

This year’s winners are:

Vanguard Award for New Construction:
Small Property (less than 100 units):
Teague Terrace, Los Angeles, Calif.; Management Company: Solari Enterprises Inc.; Owner: Women Organizing Resources Knowledge + Service (WORKS), Los Angeles, Calif.

Large Property (more than 100 units):
The Bonifant at Silver Spring, Silver Spring, Md.; Management Company: Humphrey Management; Owner: Montgomery Housing Partnership, Silver Spring, Md.

Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of an Existing Rental Housing Community:
Atlantic City Townhouse, Atlantic City, N.J.; Management Company: Multifamily Management Services; Owner: Vitus, Seattle, Wash.

Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of a Nonhousing Structure:
Immanuel Place, Long Beach, Calif.; Management Company: Thomas Safran & Associates; Owner: Thomas Safran & Associates, Los Angeles, Calif.

Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of a Historic Structure into Affordable Housing:
Arcade Apartments, St. Louis, Mo.; Management Company: Dominium; Owner: Dominium, Plymouth, Minn.

The Vanguard Awards:

  • Demonstrate that exceptional new affordable housing is available across the country;
  • Demonstrate that the affordable multifamily industry is and must be creative and innovative if such exceptional properties are to be built given the financial and other challenges to development;
  • Highlight results of the private/public partnerships required to develop today’s affordable housing; and
  • Share ideas for unique design and financing mechanisms with industry practitioners to further stimulate creative development in the affordable multifamily industry.

The judges of this year’s Vanguard Awards were distinguished NAHMA members from across the country: George C. Caruso, SHCM, NAHP-e, CEO, The Cooper Companies, Fort Washington, Md.; Nancy Evans, SHCM, NAHP-e, general manager, CSI Support & Development, Warren, Mich.; Steven Henderson, NAHP-e, chief operating officer, Prospera Property Management, San Antonio, Texas; Michael Johnson, SHCM, NAHP-e, executive vice president, Alco Management Inc., Memphis, Tenn.; and James M. McGrath, SHCM, NAHP-e, chairman, PRD Management Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J.

A brief summary of the award-winning developments follows.

Teague Terrace

Teague Terrace, 2017 Vanguard Award for New Construction (small Property)

Teague Terrace was funded, designed and developed to provide high-quality affordable housing to the most vulnerable individuals in Los Angeles County. The 56-unit affordable housing apartment complex, located in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles, is centered within an open courtyard with interlinked multilevel common spaces.

The community, which opened August 2015, provides permanent housing for individuals with developmental disabilities, homeless military veterans with special needs, homeless individuals receiving services through the county’s Department of Mental Health, and individuals receiving services through the county’s Department of Health Services.

Teague Terrace incorporates “edible” landscaping, outdoor recreation and various other amenities, despite being a high-density urban infill development. Designed by FSY Architects Inc., the complex follows the natural topography of the site in an effort to minimize disturbance and excavation. All units are provided with considerable natural light and ventilation while integrating universal design features catering to the needs of the resident population.

The community provides on-site supportive services to residents with the goal of retaining housing for those most at-risk of falling back into homelessness. Additionally, the housing community incorporates a program to support and promote a better quality of life for residents by providing on-site enrichment activities, promoting existing community resources and assisting residents in organizing a tenant council.

The programs and services offered at Teague Terrace are tailored to meet the needs of the residents by providing a variety of on-site activities designed to bolster educational achievement and encourage a love of learning.

The community center serves as a hub for residents. Everyone is encouraged to take an active role in shaping the social services offered based on the community’s needs. This empowers residents and fosters neighborhood ownership and an opportunity to affect positive change. Some activities include daily coffee and socializing, weekly writing classes, monthly birthday celebrations and job preparation counseling.

Initially, the Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center was able to contribute a small portion of the overall dollars necessary to develop Teague Terrace. From there, the developer utilized the standard funding available for affordable and permanent supportive housing including tax credits, city, county and state funding.

During construction, unanticipated environmental issues were discovered that led to a delay of several months. The development received an Affordable Housing Program grant to at least offset the additional costs associated with the remediation.

During the delay, the management company, Solari Enterprises Inc., worked with anxious applicants by keeping them informed of potential move-in dates and application status with the housing authority, and working with services to provided alternative places to stay until their unit was available. Based on the lease up, management retained approximately 90 percent of the original applicants of which 70 percent were experiencing homelessness during the construction delay.

Management works with community partners such as Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the City Attorney’s Office in addressing the neighborhood drug trafficking by enforcing a strict prohibition of encampments near the building and extra neighborhood patrolling by the LAPD.

Teague Terrace has integrated the surrounding community by creating volunteer opportunities, offering use of the meeting space to community organizations and providing referral services to those who may be experiencing homelessness and who are seeking stable housing opportunities.

The Bonifant at Silver Spring

The Bonifant at Silver Spring, 2017 Vanguard Award for New Construction (large Property)

The Bonifant at Silver Spring, located in the heart of downtown Silver Spring, Md., is a modern 11-story, 149-apartment community designed to cater to today’s senior.

Between 2015 and 2030, Maryland’s 60-plus population is anticipated to increase from 1.2 million to 1.7 million, a 40 percent increase, according to the state Department on Aging. Spurred by these numbers, Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) and the Donohoe Companies, working with the Montgomery County, offered an innovative solution that provides much needed affordable housing for seniors in a prime location in a county strapped for available land.

The Bonifant project, which opened June 2016, combines a number of innovative approaches including creative land use and dedication to affordable housing with a full array of senior services, co-location of residential space and public-use facility, transit-oriented development and a public/private partnership.

In addition, the Bonifant is the first residential property built alongside a public-use facility in the county and is part of growing efforts to use county-owned land to increase the supply of housing affordable to lower-income residents. This land use approach is a new model for affordable housing and is serving as a model for other mixed-income and mixed-use developments locally and around the nation.

The availability of discounted public land, along with the infusion of multiple sources of public funding, allowed MHP and Donohoe to serve a lower income mix than would otherwise have been possible. Of the 149 apartments, 15 are for seniors earning less than 30 percent of area medium income (AMI), 43 are for seniors at less than 50 percent AMI, 81 are for seniors less than 60 percent of AMI, and 10 are at-market rates with no income restrictions.

The project was financed with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, tax-exempt bonds, state and county loans and grants. The Bonifant project came in under budget and was completed ahead of schedule.

The site’s development was subject to a higher level of scrutiny than typical private development in the county given that it involved public land. MHP and Donohoe received multiple requests for design changes as the development process unfolded. Additionally, the public/private partnership created a need for more intensive and frequent communication with a larger and broader group of public agency stakeholders than normal during the development process, which added to staffing and overall development costs.

The residential units feature ample windows and emphasize natural light by maximizing interior open spaces. The property provides a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, as well as a large community room, a cyber café with computers and printers, a fitness center featuring senior-specific equipment, an outdoor terrace and incorporated green space—all designed to address the needs of older adults. In-unit amenities include well-appointed kitchens; spacious closets; grab bars in the shower, tub and toilet areas; individual heating and cooling units that are locally controlled; and full-size in-unit washers/dryers.

The Bonifant opened the leasing process in November 2015 and received nearly 250 applications in the first week, creating the need to hold a lottery to ensure that all applicants received a fair chance. Residents started arriving in May 2016 and the building is now 100 percent leased.

In order to help the Bonifant residents age in place and to build a sense of community, staff provides an array of on-site resident services and programs, including health and wellness services, social and recreational events and information, and referrals.

The Bonifant is near many public transit bus stops, three blocks from a Metro station and the Silver Spring Transit Center, and adjacent to the planned Purple Line light rail. Its residents enjoy easy access to community amenities including the Silver Spring Library, Silver Spring Civic Center, retail shops, grocery stores, restaurants and movie theaters.

Atlantic City Townhouse

Atlantic City Townhouse, 2017 Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of an Existing Rental Housing Community

Atlantic City Townhouse was one of the first ventures into the Southern New Jersey market by developer Vitus. In an area where more than 15 percent of the population is over 65 and 20 percent of that population is under the poverty line, Atlantic City did not have many affordable housing options for seniors.

Renovation of Atlantic City Townhouse was financed with tax-exempt bond proceeds, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits equity, New Jersey Economic Development Authority credits and a deferred developer fee. To ensure sufficient equity in the project, Vitus worked closely with the New Jersey Housing Mortgage Finance Agency and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority early on in the development process to secure the equity awards.

The major rehab project was completed on time in December 2015 and within budget. The construction phase was particularly challenging since the property has 175 units for seniors and none of the residents were relocated from their units during the rehab of the property, which was originally built in 1980.

The largest challenge was the retrofitting of the 13 Americans with Disabilities Act accessible units, which required walls to be moved and additional structural supports to be put into place.

Seven mostly unused storage rooms, located on every other floor, were converted into functional space to be used by the residents. The first floor now houses the Coffee Café, which is open every morning to the residents. The third floor contains the Reading Room, complete with a library and comfortable leather couches. The fifth floor has the Business Center, complete with a full computer lab. Classes are also held in the space on a weekly basis. The Health Hut on the seventh floor is where visiting doctors and other professionals do screenings with the residents. The ninth floor accommodates the Conference Room where the tenant association holds its meetings. The Fitness Center, with views overlooking the Atlantic City Boardwalk, is on the 11th floor.

With all residents remaining in place during the project, the management team, Multifamily Management Services, set up hospitality suites for the residents to use during the days work was going on in their apartment. Residents had access to breakfast, lunch, cable television, telephone, restrooms and other amenities that they would normally have in the comfort of their apartment.

Staff met with each resident individually to determine if there were any special accommodations needed such as packing and unpacking any items to insure no added burden was put on any of the residents. Extra social service programs were also brought in during the rehabilitation to keep residents occupied for the few hours they may need to be out of their apartment on any given day.

Atlantic City Townhouse provides place-based services and programs for self-sufficiency, social enrichment, and health and wellness through its Operation Pathways initiative. The development promotes self-sufficiency by providing daily computer classes, case management, weekly nondenominational studies and a book club. It encourages social enrichment through weekly coffee café and social gatherings, game nights featuring bingo and Wii fit, and special trips to sites such as Sight & Sound, local farmers’ markets and diners using its exclusively owned bus transportation. It also encourages health and wellness by providing residents with daily access to the on-site fitness room, exercise classes and visits from a local podiatrist.

Atlantic City Townhouse works with a regional network of community organizations such as the Share Food Program, a nonprofit organization engaging the community in food distribution, education and advocacy; the local Foster Grandparents, a program that provides ways for volunteers age 55 and up to stay active by serving children and youth; and has served as a polling site for the 2nd Ward of Atlantic City for the last 15 years.

Immanuel Place

Immanuel Place, 2017 Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of a Nonhousing Structure

The main goal of Immanuel Place was to restore an underutilized church into sustainable senior affordable housing with 15 permanent supportive housing units plus low-income units for formerly homeless individuals. The project earned Built It Green Platinum certification. The mixed-income adaptive reuse was a success and the main goal was met.

Immanuel Place is a 25-unit senior affordable housing community located in Long Beach, Calif., for people age 62 and over. Originally built in 1922, the former Immanuel Church housed traditional Baptist worship services and operated as a community center before becoming vacant in 2012.

The building was restored and transformed into housing while maintaining its architectural heritage. The complex completed construction in October 2016 and was fully leased in November 2016.

Immanuel Place was developed by Thomas Safran & Associates (TSA) Development, in partnership with Clifford Beers Housing and the city of Long Beach. The project was financed through a Long Beach Community Investment Company loan, Proposition 1C Infill Infrastructure Grant through the California Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Los Angeles Community Development Commission. The Union Bank financed an equity investment, a construction loan and acted as the sponsor for an Affordable Housing Program Loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank. The developer deferred the developer fees. Additionally, the Los Angeles Department of Health Services (DHS) granted a rental subsidy to the project for 15 supportive housing units.

The roof and windows were in disrepair and the original idea was to renovate these existing building elements. Once construction started, however, it was evident that time and materials required to refurbish the windows would be astronomical. Therefore, TSA received approval to use new wood windows and a new roof to obtain the proper warranties. In addition, the developer added new subterranean waterproofing and a new foundation drain. Upon excavation, it was discovered that water damage at the foundation required these new systems, which were not originally contemplated in the budget.

To overcome these budget challenges, the developer approached the city as a public partner in the project. The city agreed to increase their HOME funds loan amount. Four sources of soft money were obtained with 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.

TSA’s Resident Services Department worked closely with public partners and nonprofit partner, St. Joseph Center (SJC) on case management, both to ensure all the residents’ needs were met and to facilitate a successful community.

The community room is a major architectural feature, with large and refurbished stained glass windows, a fully restored 1963 Aeolian Skinner organ, original renovated lighting fixtures and original hardwood design components throughout the space. The team focused on keeping as many original character elements as possible. A historic paint analysis was completed to inform the final exterior paint color selection.

The units are all one-bedroom and provide ample space for each resident. Each unit has historic character and design features, such as existing columns and unique windows.

A general resident services program is offered through TSA’s Resident Services Department. The programs focus on education, health and wellness, financial literacy, community building, recreational activities and supportive services. Residents are encouraged to become involved in activities to create a community across all demographics. The community room is frequently used by residents who host movie nights and hold billiards tournaments.

Through funding from the county DHS, SJC provides intensive case management, mental health support, and acts as a liaison to local services such as ongoing health treatment, transportation, food resources and more.

Arcade Apartments

Arcade Apartments, 2017 Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of a Historic Structure into Affordable Housing

The main goal of the Arcade Apartments in St, Louis, Mo., was to repurpose a vacant high-rise to provide affordable housing to artists. The goal was met Dec. 1, 2015, when 282 apartment homes became 100 percent occupied by more than 400 residents.

The Arcade Building is a historical landmark that was built in 1906. Originally housing offices and retail, Arcade was once known as the largest indoor shopping mall in the country as well as the largest concrete structure in the world at that time. After closing completely in 1978, the Arcade building remained vacant for more than 30 years.

In 1998, the St. Louis community rallied around a downtown revitalization plan called, Downtown Now! This plan actually mentioned the historic restoration of the Arcade building being an important component of the effort. Fifteen years later, the city of St. Louis spearheaded this revitalization effort by acquiring the Arcade and selected Dominium to complete the restoration.

Dominium purchased the property in 2014. Of the 17 funding sources for the restoration, 15 were Missouri based—this was truly a local community effort. Dominium arranged financing from 12 different sources.

The major rehab project transformed a 100-year old, 19-story office building into a mixed-use, mixed-income community comprised of apartments and 55,000 square feet of commercial space. It is the largest housing development in downtown St. Louis in the last 50 years.

There was difficulty with the rehabilitation of the building itself. The age and location of the building presented numerous environmental and structural concerns as well as challenges with preservation of some of the buildings features. The building’s enormous, intricate façade, large arcade entrance, enormous second-story bay windows, and intricate Gothic detailing and terra cotta ornamentation all provided challenges in preservation and restoration.

Nevertheless, the architect seamlessly combined two buildings into one project with more than 50 distinct unit plans. The measures taken to preserve the integrity of the historic character were extensive. It includes a 19th-floor rooftop deck with panoramic views of downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch.

A remaining challenge at the Arcade is managing all of the different spaces and residents, including 202 units, which have rent and income limits at 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), 80 units that are luxury market-rate apartments, and a commercial space occupied by a university.

The complex’s mix of community spaces are geared toward artists and are included in the cost of rent at the 202 affordable units. The spaces include more than 11,000 total square feet of artist studio space; a performance studio with cushioned hardwood floor and seating; large and open painting, drawing and photography studios; picture rails throughout the building for additional artwork display; music practice rooms designed for optimal acoustics, sound attenuated music and multimedia studios; and flex studio with pottery kiln.

The vacant 500,000-square-foot structure was once a downtown eyesore and is now an award-winning, beautifully restored building with mixed-income residential units and a college campus that supports good-paying jobs and classes for more than 4,000 people each year. The Arcade provides low-income residents access to excellent housing, a safe neighborhood and hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.

The state-of-the-art facilities provide resources to many artists who could not otherwise afford them. The building houses a wide array of artistic households ranging from young professionals and millennials to recent retirees. The walkability of the area surrounding Arcade provides the community a sense of place that this unique population seeks to call home.