NAHMA 2011 Affordable Housing Vanguard Award Winners

Three Affordable Housing Providers Honored in Two Categories

The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) is pleased to announce the winners of its 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 or significant rehab. 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 2011 winners are:

Vanguard Award for New Construction:

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

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; Carole Glodney, President, G&K Management Co., Culver City, CA; Michael Johnson, Executive Vice President, ALCO Management Inc., Memphis, TN; and Dan Murray, President (retired), Corcoran Jennison Management Co., Boston, MA.

A brief summary of the award-winning developments follows:

City Arts

City Arts is a striking new development whose construction is helping revitalize the Greenmount West Community of Baltimore, Maryland, which has seen no new housing development since the early 1900s. City Arts was a joint venture of three nonprofit organizations: Homes for America, Jubilee Housing and TRF Development. It is managed by Winn Residential. Envisioned in large part as affordable housing for artists in the area, City Arts features a large, first-floor gallery with floor-to-ceiling windows that draws the community into the building and helps resident artists sell their work. City Arts features 58 loft-style apartments for artists and 11 apartments set aside for very low income persons with disabilities. Support for the project came from a wide range of local groups, organizations and the city government, but it faced serious financial challenges. The project was awarded nearly $1.4 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits but did not receive any low-interest Rental Housing Program funds from the state and initially had a funding gap of $2.5 million. Fortunately, when Maryland received Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP) funds from HUD, City Arts competed for and received over $2.6 million of TCAP funds. Bank of America provided construction financing, a permanent loan and purchase of the LIHTCs. The project was completed two months ahead of schedule and was brought in $294,000 under budget. Residents in City Arts present some unique challenges in the provisions of services. Resident services cater both to the artists, who are typically a younger group of 20-to-30 year olds, and persons with disabilities. City Arts has a service plan sensitive to the needs of both populations while making sure all of the residents are treated as a cohesive community.

The Commons at Buckingham

The Commons at Buckingham was developed in downtown Columbus, Ohio, by National Church Residences (NCR) to address the housing and supportive services needs of the formerly homeless and disabled. The 100-unit, four-story community offers 25 units for low-income disabled men and women, and 75 units offer permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless and disabled candidates of Columbus’s Rebuilding Lives Initiative, which is administered by the Community Shelter Board. The Commons at Buckingham is unique in that it is the first NCR project to implement the “community engagement program,” which requires residents to be engaged in employment, vocational or educational training, or volunteer community service within a year of moving into the property. It took seven different funding sources to develop The Commons at Buckingham, and the site had serious environmental issues to overcome. Still, it was built with energy conservation in mind and received a platinum rating from the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council. Platinum is LEED’s highest rating. This certification verifies that strategies were employed to improve energy savings, water efficiency, carbon emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources. Although in an urban setting, The Commons at Buckingham uses drought-resistant and native plantings; energy-saving light devices, fixtures, and bulbs; environmentally-friendly refrigerants and digital controls for heating, cooling and ventilation; and water-conserving toilets, sinks and showers. Residents benefit as well from on-site supportive services, including a professionally staffed Resource Center that helps residents prepare for and find jobs; a health and wellness clinic; and opportunities for socialization and recreation, among others. The Commons at Buckingham is owned by The Commons at Buckingham Housing Ltd. Partnership and is managed by NCR.

Ashland Village

Ashland Village is a 142-unit affordable apartment community located in unincorporated Alameda County, California in an area called Ashland. The apartment complex was originally built in the 1980s, and before Eden Housing acquired the property, it was at risk of being converted to market-rate housing. Eden Housing’s success in acquiring, renovating and preserving this affordable housing was jeopardized at the 11th hour by the national economic crisis. Its original lender went out of business, California froze state bond sales, and a technical violation of the tax credit’s 10-year rule due to the inheritance structure had to be overcome. Fortunately for Eden, Bank of America agreed to underwrite the loans without the bond program’s deeper income targeting, and Alameda County agreed to increase its permanent loan by $5 million to bridge the potential gap during construction. Renovations of the $34 million project include numerous unit and exterior upgrades as well as a new community room. The most exciting design element of the rehab is the construction of a new, 2,600 sq. ft. community building, which contains space for meeting and socializing, a computer lab and other resources. Perhaps the greatest achievement is that existing and new residents have acclimated to the new rules and culture of the Eden management team, resulting in a safe and secure working and living environment for its residents, employees and the surrounding community. Ashland Village Apartments LP is the owner and Eden Housing Management, Inc. provides property management.