Getting Our High Heels Muddy
Author: Jackie Chelf, SVdP Intern
Date: Friday, June 1 2012
Have you ever seen a woman in high heels get atop a mini excavator and help dig up land for an apartment complex?
That’s exactly what happened at the Stellar Apartments groundbreaking on Friday, May 25. Mayor Kitty Piercy happily climbed aboard a construction machine to show her support for the Stellar Apartments, a 54-unit affordable housing project at 17th and City View in Eugene (one block north of the former Westmoreland Elementary School site).
St. Vincent de Paul is excited to add new housing units to its portfolio in Lane County. St. Vincent de Paul already manages fifteen other affordable housing complexes in the Eugene-Springfield area and several more in rural Lane County. Monthly rents will be $430 for a one-bedroom unit, $515 for a two-bedroom unit, and $585 for a three-bedroom unit. At least four apartments will be reserved for homeless veterans and their families.
The bulk of the funding for the Stellar Apartments will come from $7 million in equity from federal low-income housing tax credits allocated through the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department. The land, which was purchased by the City of Eugene in 2004 as part of their land bank program, was donated to the project through a competitive process. The City of Eugene also awarded the project HOME funds and system development charge waivers. Other funding partners include Wells Fargo Bank Community Lending and Investment, the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), and the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH).
Besides providing a place for kids and veterans to rest their heads at night, the project will be built to two different green building and energy standards. Most of the project will use the Earth Advantage standard, which will ensure lower utility bills for tenants. John Simpson of EWEB announced that his agency will monitor factors such as building material selection and, energy, water and land usage, all of which will be verified by third-party inspectors. “The Energy Management staff at EWEB will be putting both of these standards to a competition in the Stellar Apartment housing development,” he said.
One building (six units) will use the Passive House standard. The Passive House building will be the first multi-family housing in the United States built to this standard. This building will be very well-insulated and virtually air-tight, meaning extremely low utility bills for tenants.
Oregon is considered one of the lowest ranked states in terms of housing affordability. Thus, the Stellar Apartments project will be a welcome addition to the community. Marjory Ramey, who is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Housing Advisory Board and helped guide the project’s development, shared her thoughts: “I am delighted to be a part of the efforts to support housing to Eugene residents. Supplying homes to Eugene residents has had such a significant impact in the last few years, and it’s very gratifying to be part of it.”
We are so happy to be fulfilling the dream of safe, quality, affordable housing for so many people, and plan on developing more housing in years to come. We appreciate all the people who came to show support for the project.