A Berkeley, Calif.-based developer established solely to increase affordable housing, has added 20 more units to its forces in the battle to combat homelessness. Affordable Housing Associates is reserving these units in its newly opened Madison @ 14th Apartments in nearby Oakland, Calif., exclusively for area teenagers who have “aged out” of foster care.

“It's harsh when you are 18 and leaving the system and have to fend for yourself,” says AHA Deputy Executive Director Kevin Zwick. “Helping foster youth is a key way to combat homelessness.”

Madison @ 14th is providing a total of 79 permanently affordable apartments for low-income families and foster youth. The project also will offer support services through a partnership with the Oakland-based nonprofit First Place for Youth, an organization that helps individuals once in foster care transition to adulthood by providing them with the skills and training necessary to survive independently.

Designed by San Francisco-based architects Leddy Maytum and Stacy, Madison @ 14th was awarded a Bay Area regional Design Award by the American Institute of Architects. The project includes landscaped open space, abundant natural light, and green features including photovoltaic solar panels to provide energy for common areas.

“What's exciting for us is we are able to design quality architecture for a program that provides quality programming for foster youth,” says project architect Charlie Stott.

When it opened in June, Madison @ 14th had a waiting list of 3,000, including 150 former foster youth, Zwick says. The response was welcomed for a project that took seven years to complete. Zwick says this was largely due to having to navigate multiple parties through complicated state and city funding and entitlement processes.

This type of housing—green and urban infill—is so important,” Zwick says. “It is worth all of the effort.”

  • Los Angeles: Addressing the dual need for affordable housing and grocery stores in the South Los Angeles area, West Los Angeles-based Meta Housing Corp. is developing 80 apartments above 19,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. Units range in size from 554 square feet to 1,103 square feet. With financing that was provided in part via federal low-income housing tax credits, the project will be 100 percent affordable for residents earning from 35 percent to 45 percent of the area median income. Monthly rents are expected to range from $497 to $887.
  • Dallas: JPI, a luxury apartment builder based in Irving, Texas, has broken ground on Jefferson at the Arts District, a 228-unit rental community in the Arts District of downtown Dallas. The project will be a part of the city's 68-acre urban cultural district and will consist of one six-story building with below-ground parking. Amenities include a club room with gourmet cooking kitchen, a cyber lounge, a fitness facility, a pool, and an outdoor fireside lounge. Selected units will be ready for occupancy in January 2010. Construction will be complete by June 2010.
  • Southgate, Calif.: Golden Boy Partners, an El Segundo, Calif.-based real estate development company formed by boxer Oscar De La Hoya, is fighting to bring more housing to underserved, primarily Latino, urban neighborhoods in Southern California. Its first venture is Tierra del Rey, a development of 107 for-sale townhouses on 5 acres southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Torrance, Calif.-based Withee Malcolm Architects designed Tierra del Rey for working families with homes ranging in size from 1,200 square feet to 1,600 square feet. Prices are anticipated to start in the mid-$300,000 range, well below the average home price of $475,000 in L.A. County.
  • Houston: Asset Plus Cos. of Houston has broken ground on The Lofts at Wolf Pen Creek. The mixed-use, student housing development is the first of its kind in College Station, home of Texas A&M University. Designed by Meeks + Partners, the 679-bed community features a four-story stucco and brick structure offering a mix of 253 stacked flats and 11 townhouses. It is adjacent to a seven-level parking garage and above a retail and community center. The development also has 9,000 square feet of retail space, a dedicated Texas A&M metro shuttle stop, private courtyards, a clubhouse, and an outdoor café.
  • St. Louis, Mo.: St. Louis developer Blue Urban has finished the historic renovation of G.W. Lofts, providing 60 rental units in the city's down town. The colorful building façade was envisioned when a golden glazed terra cotta brick was exposed during preliminary planning, according to officials from the project's St. Louis-based architectural firm Rosemann & Associates. Units range from 877 square feet to 1,241 square feet.
  • Nyack, N.Y.: To provide a way for volunteer firefighters to live in the community they serve, New York City-based developer Sapounas is building a mixed-use project in New York's Hudson Valley area of Nyack, N.Y., with 10 apartments above a commercial market reserved for firefighters. Qualifying residents will earn between 60 percent and 80 percent of area median income. A 5,000-square-foot Wig Wam food market will be housed on the first floor.
  • Wyncote, Pa.: Matrix Residential's new project, Wyngate, is seeing good interest in its 198 townhomes, says the Cranbury, N.J.-based developer. Matrix recently completed the first phase, which consisted of 28 townhomes in four buildings. The second phase began this summer. Designed by Wayne, Pa.-based L & M Design, the gated community features 29 buildings each with a mix of six or eight townhomes, along with 34 acres of dedicated open space. Units cost between $244,900 and $306,900.
  • Fresno, Calif.: AMCAL Multi-Housing has unveiled Sandstone, a 100 percent affordable apartment complex of 69 units on 4.9 acres. The project was designed by locally based R.L. Davidson and features 12 two-bedroom apartments, 36 three-bedroom apartments, and 16 four-bedroom apartments. Twenty of the units will be reserved for households earning 60 percent of area median income (AMI); 34 units will be reserved for households earning 50 percent AMI; and seven units will be reserved for those earning both 30 percent and 40 percent AMI.