Daniel O'Connor

Throughout its 42-year history, Metro West Housing Solutions has helped revitalize and sustain neighborhoods and local businesses by building and managing mixed-use, high-quality, financially successful apartments and commercial properties.

For this downtown site that had previously been a parking lot, its goal was to construct a cutting-edge design that would put to rest stereotypes of drab affordable housing.

This new, four-story CityScape at Belmar gives seniors a bold, colorful, contemporary place to live with sustainable building solutions that cut their energy and water costs. The exterior provides a great visual first impression, with wood frame cladding in vibrantly colored, painted-cement panels.

Energy savings that helped the building gain LEED Platinum certification come from the flat roof with parapets sheathed in a heat-reflective white membrane; orientation in an east–west direction for solar gain; and low-E window glazing.

Of the 130 units, 92 are priced at or below 60% of the area’s area median income—$83,900 for Jefferson County; the other 38 are market rate.

Elevators and stairs cater to different physical abilities. Each unit is comfortably sized, with 9-foot-high ceilings, walk-in closets, individual washer–dryers, and disability showers so that residents can age in place.

Because feeling physically and emotionally isolated is a challenge for many seniors, shared amenities were important: a wellness room with private spaces for consultations; community gardens with raised beds at grade and on the roof; a group kitchen; a billiards room; and a movie theater. Bright colors inside continue the lively mood.

An on-site resident coordinator assists with securing needed services and organizing activities such as ice cream socials, bingo games, and movie nights. Besides green building materials and systems, 92% of construction waste on the jobsite was diverted from landfills. The developer financed the project primarily through 9% low-income housing tax credits.