Red Oak Park has won the 2012 Affordable Housing Project award presented by the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.
The affordable housing community was developed by Boulder Housing Partners. The award recognizes a Colorado project that was completed in an innovative manner, incorporating such things as creative financing, public/private partnerships, mixed-use developments, adaptive reuses and special-needs housing.
The 59-home Red Oak Park is BHP’s most recent affordable-housing development. It is considered a model for future redevelopment projects for its environmental features and inclusive neighborhood-style design, as well as its innovative development approach.
Energy-efficient project replace trailer park
The north Boulder development was built on the site of a mid-century mobile home park. It replaces scores of deteriorated mobile homes. In the year since the new development was completed it has been fully occupied including some residents of the former trailer park.
Homes were built to meet Boulder’s strict community standards for design and energy efficiency while remaining affordable to families earning up to 50 percent of the area median income. Red Oak Park includes a community center that provides after-school and community education opportunities.
The homes were designed with the health of residents in mind. All of the units were completed with green, energy efficient features to help reduce utility costs for the residents, as well as improve air emissions and reduce water use compared with standard developments. Many of the homes generate a surplus of clean electricity with rooftop solar panels. Red Oak Park’s central location at 2637 Valmont Road is within walking distance of shopping, public transit and bike paths, which combine to reduce residents’ car trips.
$13 million project
BHP’s financing tapped multiple sources to raise the $13 million required to make it a 100 percent affordable community. The City of Boulder provided critical early financial support, allowing it to qualify for a low-income tax credits. The tax credit award was the catalyst that enabled BHP to complete the financing in spite of difficult economic conditions. Other financial sources included BHP’s contribution of the land, permanent debt, solar energy tax credits and private grants.
The affordable housing award was presented to BHP executive director Betsey Martens earlier this month at the CoNAHRO annual conference in Fort Collins.
Demand for affordable housing to grow
Martens, who also serves as the president of the national NAHRO Board of Governors, told the Colorado conference that the affordable housing and community development industry is poised to transform over the next decade as demand for affordable housing increases due to a combination of the slow economic recovery, persistent unemployment, the collapse of the housing market and tightening government budgets.
“The key question in these challenging times is whether we will be transformed, or will we transform ourselves?” Martens said in a speech to the CoNAHRO audience. “The Red Oak Park development contains ingredients that will be essential to successful infill affordable housing projects in the next decade.”
The CoNAHRO Awards of Excellence give recognition to innovative new housing and community development projects, programs and services provided by NAHRO agency members statewide. The awards recognize best practices among housing, redevelopment and community agencies and provide a resource bank of information for NAHRO members.
To learn more about what is happening in the Boulder area, please visit this 8z Real Estate link.
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