Partnership with Northwest Housing Alternatives and Oregon Housing and Community Services starts construction on apartment community
USA Properties Fund, one of the fastest-growing and leading affordable developer-owner-managers in the West, Northwest Housing Alternatives and Oregon Housing and Community Services are partnering on The Canopy Apartments at Powell, a much-needed affordable apartment community close to public transportation, freeways, schools and several shopping centers in east Portland.
Construction on The Canopy Apartments at Powell – located at 12439 SE Powell Blvd., about 12 miles east of downtown Portland – has started and should be completed in late 2023. The 169-apartment community will have numerous amenities, including a bike room, a courtyard with a tot lot, a dog wash and a donation pantry, allowing residents to share food resources.
The $63 million development is the first in Oregon for USA Properties Fund, which has more than 90 affordable and market-rate apartment communities in California and Nevada.
Aggressive efforts to address affordable housing, through legislation and the passing of a bond measure by voters in recent years, have “made it more realistic to develop affordable housing” in Oregon, said USA Properties President Geoff Brown,
“We’ve been looking at expanding to Portland for a while, and The Canopy Apartments is a good fit and a great project to enter the market,” said Brown, who knows the region well, earning a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Willamette University in Salem. “We appreciate the relationships that we have developed and enjoy working with Northwest Housing and OHCS. They are great people who understand affordable housing.”
‘SAFE, STABLE AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR OREGON FAMILIES’
The public-private partnership – including $15.2 million from OHCS’ Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) Housing Program – was critical in taking the apartment community from the drawing board to the 3.8-acre parcel, said Darryl Briley, a Portland-area development consultant working on the project.
“Increasing access to safe, stable and affordable housing for Oregon families is a continued commitment of OHCS,” said OHCS Executive Director Andrea Bell. “Housing is a critical social determinant of health because it is a platform for health, well-being and community. Financing multifamily affordable housing like The Canopy Apartments at Powell is a representation of our ambitious long-term strategy to respond to the housing crisis impacting the most vulnerable communities in Oregon. It is about centering humanity.”
OHCS has funded almost 19,000 affordable rental homes during the first three years of its Housing Plan, and is on pace to easily exceed the goal of 25,000 over five years.
The Portland Housing Bureau has also played a major role in The Canopy Apartments at Powell, waiving millions of dollars in development fees. The city has issued a State of Emergency on Housing and Homelessness, which greatly expedites the permitting process.
SMALLER RENTS, LARGER APARTMENTS
The Canopy Apartments at Powell will provide much-needed affordable housing for residents in the Portland region, where almost half (46%) of households that rent are considered “cost-burdened,” spending at least 30% of their income on housing, according to The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The Canopy Apartments at Powell is for residents earning less than 60% of the area’s median income – about $58,000 per year for a family of four. Rents will range from less than $1,100 per month for a one-bedroom apartment to just more than $1,500 for a three-bedroom unit.
Those rents are significantly less than nearby market-rate apartments in Portland, according to industry tracker Zumper.
Almost as important as the affordable rents are the size of the units, said Destin Ferdun, Director of Real Estate Development for Northwest Housing Alternatives. About half of the apartments will be three-bedroom units, helping meet an often-overlooked and underserved population in the Portland region – families.
The Canopy Apartments at Powell has a “very cost-effective, efficient use of the space,” Ferdun said.
LONG LIST OF AMENITIES, LESS IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
The modern contemporary-designed apartment community will have a three- and a four-story building. Amenities will include elevators, laundry facilities on each floor, and ample on-site parking with an electric vehicle charging station.
Apartments will include electric heating; laminate flooring; energy-efficient appliances and lighting; and low-flow faucets, showers and toilets. Apartments can also accommodate tenant-owned air conditioning units, if necessary.
USA Properties, which embraced green-building practices more than a decade ago, has registered with Earth Advantage and expects to receive a Platinum-level certification for the project. Numerous earth-friendly upgrades – including high-performance windows, the installation of a solar-panel system and a commitment to building with local materials – will help boost the performance of The Canopy Apartments at Powell by at least 26% compared to baseline permitted construction, said Eric Foley, Manager of the Multifamily Program for Earth Advantage.
The Canopy Apartments is “very thoughtful in its design,” Briley said.
JP Morgan Chase and WNC are financial partners on the project. WALSH Construction Co. is the general contractor.
The Canopy Apartments at Powell could be the first of several projects in the Portland region for Roseville, Calif.-based USA Properties.
“Oregon and the Portland community are committed to addressing the overwhelming need for more affordable housing,” Brown said. “And we’re looking forward to finding projects that make sense for us and our partners, and being part of the solution that helps ease the critical shortage of affordable housing in the region.”