NAHMA Announces First Vanguard Award Winners

Five Affordable Housing Providers Honored in Four Categories

June 7, 2010, Alexandria, VA – The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) is pleased to announce the winners of its first annual Affordable Housing Vanguard Awards, which were created to recognize newly developed affordable multifamily housing communities that showcase quality design and financing through their development.

The Vanguard Awards celebrate success in the multifamily affordable housing industry by recognizing and benchmarking new, quality, multifamily affordable housing development. The award –

  • Pays tribute to developers of high-quality affordable housing;
  • Demonstrates that exceptional new affordable housing is available across the country, and that it is a positive addition to any neighborhood;
  • Demonstrates that the affordable multifamily industry must be creative and innovative to create exceptional properties given the financing and other challenges to development;
  • Highlights results of private-public partnerships required to develop today’s affordable housing;
  • Shares ideas for unique design and financing mechanisms with industry practitioners to further stimulate creative development in the affordable multifamily industry.

The 2010 Vanguard Award Winners are:

Vanguard Award for New Construction:

  • Small Property (under 100 units) – Gratiot Woods Co-op, Detroit, MI (Contact Info)
  • Large Property (over 100 units) – The Terraces on Tulane, New Orleans, LA (Contact Info)

Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of an Existing Rental Housing Community:

Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of a Non-Housing Structure into Affordable Rental Housing:

Vanguard Award for Major Rehabilitation of a Historic Structure into Affordable Rental Housing:

  • The Hollander Foundation Center, Hartford, CT (Contact Info)

The judges of this year’s Vanguard Awards were NAHMA owner/developer members from across the country. They included Jim McGrath, President, PRD Management, Pennsauken, NJ; Raquel Guglielmetti, Executive Vice President, Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp., Boise, ID; and Carole Glodney, President, G&K Management Co., Culver City, CA.

A brief summary of the award-winning developments follows.

Gratiot Woods Co-op

Gratiot Woods Co-op was built by CSI Support and Development Services of Warren, MI, in partnership with the Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance and the City of Detroit. The 62-unit Gratiot Woods Co-op is a beautiful new anchor in a long-neglected but struggling-to-revitalize neighborhood. The project was funded through more than $6.4 million in HUD Section 202 funds, a $400,000 HUD predevelopment grant, and a $60,000 grant from the United Way to increase energy efficiency. Building Gratiot Woods required securing 23 parcels of land, vacating and closing a city street and two public alleys and removing lead and arsenic from the soil. The project – begun in 2007 – was well managed, completed on time and came in about $40,000 under budget. It has been fully occupied since its opening in June 2008. Gratiot Woods is affordable to very low income seniors, thanks in part to a Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) through HUD. It includes many safety and lifestyle-enhancing features important for seniors. Gratiot Woods Co-op is owned and managed by the Gratiot Woods Non-Profit Housing Corporation. Meeting the goals of this project while maintaining an extremely tight budget created a building that an entire community is proud of and a project worthy of a 2010 Affordable Housing Vanguard Award.

The Terraces on Tulane

The Terraces on Tulane – When Hurricane Katrina devastated numerous affordable housing units in New Orleans, one of those destroyed was Forest Towers East, a 200-unit, Section 202 property located in East New Orleans. Volunteers of America (VOA), which owned this property along with 29 others that were damaged, replaced Forest Towers East with The Terraces on Tulane, a $43 million structure also with 200 apartments for seniors. All of the residents of Forest Towers East were evacuated safely and subsequently tracked by VOA during the post-hurricane aftermath. Eighty-four of the original residents of Forest Towers East will move back into The Terraces on Tulane. The new community is a beautiful high-rise in the Mid-City neighborhood. It is a transit-oriented development that has immediate access to neighborhood amenities, including medical services, grocery stores, and entertainment. There were major financing and other challenges for the project’s completion, but the end result is service-enriched housing for low-income seniors that enables them to live as independently as they are able and to age in place.

Viewpoint Senior Apartments

Viewpoint Senior Apartments, owned and managed by National Church Residences of Columbus, OH, is an affordable senior housing property whose original building was constructed in 1967. Its project goals were to preserve the property as affordable Section 8 housing; to address capital and rehab needs; and to improve the marketability, function and appearance while optimizing energy efficiency and improving overall livability. Among the challenges facing this project were getting approvals to reduce the number of units from 153 to 117; finding adequate sources of financing the $13 million renovation; relocating residents during construction; and reconfiguring the units for residents’ maximum comfort. Among the design features were removing existing walls to enlarge once-partitioned, small rooms, creating socialization areas that are open and inviting, and improving mobility, functionality and aesthetics. Design elements employ green building strategies while lowering operating costs and maintenance needs. The result is a clean, contemporary, highly visible high-rise that is now a landmark structure on the edge of Lake Erie.

Loft 27

Loft 27 is a workforce housing apartment community situated alongside the Lower Pawtucket Canal that runs through downtown Lowell, MA. Located in a former mill building built in the early 1900s, Loft 27 is the quintessential example of a successful rehabilitation of a National Historic Landmark using Smart Growth principles. WinnDevelopment acquired the project in 2006 when Loft 27 was a partially constructed, failed condominium project. Winn took a coordinated approach from pre-construction to stabilization to turn the property into a success. Challenges to the project included construction delays, financing, a building at 80 percent completion (resulting in limited opportunities for design improvements), significant interior, windowless spaces, inadequate trash removal plan (no chutes), rodent Infestations and lead paint in the common areas. With its SoHo style lofts, Loft 27’s 173 units incorporate historical architectural elements with modern, five-star amenities. The property features one- and two-bedroom apartments, some with dens, averaging 1,600 square feet. Spacious layouts allow for plentiful closet space, washer and dryer units, open kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, and large windows offering views of the canal and downtown. High ceilings, hardwood floors, ceiling fans, HD cable TV and high-speed internet access complete each apartment home.

The Betty Ruth & Milton B. Hollander Foundation Center

The Betty Ruth & Milton B. Hollander Foundation Center is a neo-classical structure formerly known as The Capitol Building. Built in 1926, it was donated to its current owners (Common Ground of New York, NY) after sitting vacant for 10 years. Restoring this building to its original grandeur has contributed a great deal to the revitalization of downtown Hartford, CT. Challenges to converting this building to affordable multifamily housing included that the project had no existing plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems. The development team worked carefully to adhere to the owners’ vision for the development to be a sustainable green building. Also, because the Hollander Building is on the Registry of Historic Buildings, the developers had to make certain that all of the modern systems and conveniences could be installed without disrupting the historic features. WinnResidential started working with Common Ground on the project in May 2009. As the last phase of residential development was taking place, the management team started marketing the property and aligning operations, and the building was leased up in early 2010. The Hollander Foundation Center is the first affordable housing for families in downtown Hartford, the first LEED-certified, mixed-use building in Connecticut, the first LEED certified multifamily residential building in Connecticut, the first LEED certified building utilizing Historic Tax Credits in Connecticut, and has the first green roof in Hartford.