Friday , 30 September 2016
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City of Austin Wins ULI Affordable Housing Award

City of Austin

City of Austin

NEW YORK – The City of Austin’s affordable housing program has been named a winner in the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing annual housing awards, a program that celebrates and promotes the exemplary efforts of real estate and public policy leaders from across the country who are working to expand affordable and workforce housing opportunities.

Winners for both the Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award and the Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award, selected by the ULI Terwilliger Center’s national advisory board, were recognized during the general session at the ULI Fall Meeting in New York City.

Emerald Vista in Dublin, California and the Box District in Chelsea, Massachusetts were both honored as recipients of the Jack Kemp Award. The City of Austin, Texas and the City of Pasadena, California were recognized as winners of the Larson Award.

The housing awards program honors model developments and programs that provide affordable, well-designed and accessible housing choices for a mix of incomes, including families earning up to 120 percent of the area median income. This year, the awards criteria were expanded to include mixed-income projects and policies that serve both above and below 60 percent of the median income. The Jack Kemp Award honors outstanding developments while the Larson Award recognizes exceptional public policy.

“The private and public sectors both seek innovative approaches to workforce housing that involve partnerships in putting projects together and feature walkable neighborhoods that reduce commute times and environmental impacts,” said Mass Development President and Chief Executive Officer Marty Jones, who also serves on the Terwilliger Center’s national advisory board. “This year’s winners and finalists showcase creative, comprehensive mixed-income developments that both work well in their own contexts and should have wide appeal to similar efforts throughout the nation.”

The 2014 Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award winners are:

  • City of Austin, Austin, Texas  – Designated by the US Census Bureau as the “nation’s capital for population growth,” the city of Austin is tackling its affordable housing shortage through a variety of mechanisms. In addition to the housing trust fund and general obligation bond funding, the city implemented planning and development policies and programs that encourage the production of affordable housing – securing affordability for more than 18,000-units since focusing on this crucial issue. Currently working on packages of programs to increase affordable housing near transit and to produce more multi-family housing, the city of Austin is showing impressive leadership to meet future affordable housing needs.
  • City of Pasadena, Pasadena, California – Since 2000, Pasadena’s housing policy and programs have resulted in the development of over 5,000 housing units in transit-oriented areas, including 1,370 units of affordable and workforce housing. Pasadena’s commitment to its housing vision, community engagement, and informed dialog has produced a highly integrated and effective mix of goals, policies, and programs for its 2014-2021 housing element plan. Implementing a comprehensive set of policies, the city of Pasadena was aptly placed at the top of the State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development “Housing Elements Best Practices” list.

According to Ali Solis, Terwilliger Center national advisory board member and Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Corporate Affairs at Enterprise Community Partners, this year’s Larson Award winners show innovative approaches to how the public sector is addressing the growing affordable housing crises in cities. “Like many ULI Larson Housing Policy Award winners, these leading cities used a range of creative tools to provide more opportunity to low- and moderate-income residents, including incentive programs and bond financing that increase affordable housing near transit. These efforts support Enterprise’s goal of ending housing insecurity in the U.S. within a generation,” she said.

The 2014 Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award winners are:

  • Emerald Vista, Dublin, California – Replacing a low-density public housing development with nearly 400 new units, Emerald Vista provides substantial amenities to residents of all ages and incomes. The project – developed by Eden Housing, in partnership with KB Home, the City of Dublin, the Alameda County Housing Authority, and Wells Fargo – serves as an innovative model for intergenerational and sustainable development.
  • The Box District, Chelsea, Massachusetts – The Box District is 248-unit mixed-income redevelopment of a former blighted industrial site in Chelsea, MA using a mix of new construction, adaptive reuse of old factories and modular building methods. Transformation of the Box District, now a smart growth district that will soon be home to a new Silver Line transit stop, is a result of long-term collaboration between Neighborhood Developers, Mitchell Properties, and the City of Chelsea.

Three projects were recognized as finalists in the Jack Kemp Awards competition. The Terwilliger national advisory board selected 30 Haven, a transit-oriented, mixed-use, mixed-income, intergenerational community built on a former neighborhood grocery site in Reading, Massachusetts as a finalist. The advisory board also recognized Old Town Commons, a mixed-income community in Bethesda, Maryland, that was transformed from an underperforming public housing site into a vibrant development with a bike sharing facility available on the property. The third finalist cited by the advisory board honored is Paseo Verde, an energy-efficient and mixed-income community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is also the first LEED ND Platinum community in the country.

“The Jack Kemp Award recipients serve as models for developers seeking ideas on how to bring both private capital and expertise together with public resources to improve communities and increase housing opportunities,” said Michelle Winters, senior visiting fellow for the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing. “Not only do they integrate a variety of household and family types seamlessly, but they also demonstrate how to create successful inclusive housing developments in a range of environments from central cities to suburbs.”

According to Ali Solis, Terwilliger Center national advisory board member and Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Corporate Affairs at Enterprise Community Partners, this year’s Larson Award winners show innovative approaches to how the public sector is addressing the growing affordable housing crises in cities. “Like many ULI Larson Housing Policy Award winners, these leading cities used a range of creative tools to provide more opportunity to low- and moderate-income residents, including incentive programs and bond financing that increase affordable housing near transit. These efforts support Enterprise’s goal of ending housing insecurity in the U.S. within a generation,” she said.

ULI established the Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award in 2008, naming it in memory of Jack Kemp, former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary and ULI Terwilliger Center national advisory board member. The award is given annually to workforce housing developments that represent outstanding achievements in several areas, including affordability, innovative financing and building technologies, proximity to employment centers and transportation hubs, quality of design, involvement of public-private partnerships, and replicability of the development, among other criteria.

The Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Awards program was created in 2011, with the purpose of honoring the legacy of the late Robert C. Larson, former ULI Foundation Chairman and longtime ULI trustee.  The award’s criteria were structured so that it provides visibility to exemplary state or local governments that provide ongoing and sustainable support for the production, rehabilitation or preservation of workforce housing. Policy programs are judged on a number of factors, including impact on the supply of workforce housing, comprehensiveness of the tools and programs employed, involvement of public-private partnerships, and the ability to leverage private and nonprofit funds, among other criteria.

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