The newsletter of the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority · Summer 2008
In This Issue: NAHRO Awards Strategic Plan Update
American Wetlands Month Celebrated On May 21, 2008, one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most significant wetlands restoration efforts was showcased along Norfolk’s Elizabeth Riverfront in observance of American Wetlands Month.
HomeNet Lee’s Friends
Planting of Spartina grass has begun for the wetlands restoration project. The sandy area is covered by water during high tide
The Tide SPARC Grant Going Green Mission College Renovation Broad Creek Open House Projects on the Horizon
The initiative, a model environmental partnership between the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) and City of Norfolk, is taking place along the shoreline of NRHA’s 44-acre Grandy Village community. HRT is in the process of constructing Virginia’s first light rail project, The Tide, which will impact 1.57 acres of wetlands. To offset that impact, HRT is restoring 1.7 acres of wetlands at the Grandy Village location, which is providing mitigation in the same watershed where the wetlands are being impacted. The project is proceeding under the stewardship of the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Norfolk. In addition to helping revitalize Grandy Village, already undergoing a $41 million renovation, the project will give a substantial boost to the Elizabeth River Project’s goal of a swimmable and fishable river by 2020, as well as a net gain of wetlands. The event opened at 10 a.m. with site tours of the restoration project already underway and exhibitors, which included the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Elizabeth River Project, Nauticus, The Hermitage Museum, the City of Norfolk, URS, HRT and NRHA. Seventy second grade students, four teachers, and Second-graders learn wetland benefits the principal of neighboring Chesterfield Academy were taken on a “slog” to the water’s edge where they learned about the benefits of wetlands to the environment and released ladybugs, a method of bio-control. One of the 11 Energy Star-certified duplexes at Grandy Village was open for visitors to view. NRHA Executive Director, Shurl Montgomery welcomed the crowd of over 100 business, community and environmental leaders, as well as neighborhood residents, students and faculty. Remarks were made by NRHA Board Chairman W. Sheppard Miller, Councilwoman Daun Hester and HRT Vice President James Toscano.
pleased to be a part of such an extraordinary partnership. We are not only bettering the Grandy Village community, but also the Elizabeth River, from which everyone benefits.” -Executive Director, Shurl Montgomery
Four NRHA Programs to Receive NAHRO Awards of Merit; Two Programs Nominated for National Awards of Excellence Described below are two of the NRHA projects which received Awards of Merit and were nominated by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) for National Awards of Excellence for 2008. NAHRO is the nation’s leading housing and community development trade association. The annual competition recognizes the most innovative housing and community development projects, programs and services across the nation. Award winners will be honored at NAHRO’s Summer Conference in Nashville, TN.
The New Townhouses at East Church NRHA, with input from the Church Street Task Force and Norfolk Planning Commission, worked to create a first-class project in the Church Street corridor of the city, bringing about much needed change and revitalization as the neighborhood continues towards renewal. The project resulted in 12 affordable and stylish new town homes that complimented the adjacent West Church neighborhood of 26 mixed-income single-family detached homes. Noted for their quality construction, the townhouses were priced below the average new construction town homes in Hampton Roads. The 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, three and four bedroom homes featured brick and HardiPlank exteriors and two-car garages and ranged in price from $165,000 to $225,000. Half of the homes were reserved for lower income families while the remaining units sold at market rate. Funding for site improvements and infrastructure included Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and capital improvement monies from the City of Norfolk. Virginia Housing Development Authority and HOME funds were used to buy down mortgage interest rates for first-time income qualified buyers. The project’s success allows NRHA to continue the renewal of the Church Street corridor by planning additional town houses just blocks away.
NMTC & Tax-Exempt Empowerment Zone Bonds: Hampton Roads Ventures (HRV), LLC, an affiliate of NRHA, secured a SpringHill Suites by Marriott for the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk by engineering a groundbreaking financial model combining New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) and tax-exempt Empowerment Zone bonds. Typically, NMTC and Empowerment Zone bonds are used separately to foster development in distressed markets because each program has complicated requirements that make it difficult to combine them. The project was referred to HRV by local leaders who feared the long-planned hotel project, considered key to the area’s revitalization, would not come to fruition. HRV was able to leverage funding options by using $11.4 million in bonds issued by Norfolk’s Economic Development Authority, underwritten by Ferris, Baker Watts, Inc. of Washington, D.C. A Morgan Stanley investment fund managed by TransCapital, a Phoenix-based financial firm, then invested equity in the development in exchange for the New Markets Tax Credits. HRV, providing permanent financing for the project, split a loan into two promissory notes to the developer: one for $10.07 million at an interest rate of 6 %, the other for $3.23 million at an interest rate of 3.97 %.
On the Horizon Former Brewery Site: Twenty seven townhomes will be constructed on the former brewery site in the Church Street Corridor. A historical study is underway for determining a new name for the development. A groundbreaking ceremony is expected in the fall.
Mission College Renovation Adds to Broad Creek Revitalization A $7.5 million upgrade at the 17-year-old Mission College Apartments, which has 260 units, in an ongoing effort to provide quality housing choices that foster sustainable mixed-income communities, is underway. Located on 13 acres just east of downtown Norfolk, M ission Col lege is a n i mpor ta nt component i n revitalizing the Broad Creek area.
The renovation project covers interior and exterior improvements as well as common area additions. Renovations will include a new entrance gateway, way finding signage, energy efficient grounds lighting as well as new fencing and landscaping. Additional improvements will be made to the management office and maintenance building. Individual unit renovations include new exterior doors, new flooring and fixtures, replacing plumbing and refrigeration lines as well as HVAC systems, high speed cable or wireless internet service and painting throughout. Other new amenities will include a community clubhouse and pool for exercise, meeting space and recreation. Renovations to the property, built in 1990, began January 21, 2008 and are expected to be complete by early 2009. At that time, 130 units will be rented at market rate with the remaining units rented to those earning $20,000 to $37,000 annually. As of June, five buildings have been modernized and re-occupied. A clubhouse design will be presented to the Design Review and Planning Commission with construction expected to commence later this year. The project utilizes $6.3 million in housing tax credits from the Virginia Housing Development Authority and equity financing for the remainder. The February 25 edition of The Virginian-Pilot featured an article on the plans and renovations at Mission College.
After renovations are complete, 130 units will be market rate while the remaining units will be rented to those with incomes between $20,000 and $37,000.
Exterior improvements will include landscaping and new clubhouse.
Interior improvements include new kitchen cabinets, countertops, sinks, fixtures, flooring, dishwasher, blinds and paint.
On the Horizon Moton Circle: NRHA is working with Moton Circle residents to shape future redevelopment options for the community.
NRHA Building Green Receives National Recognition The “Going Green” movement is steam rolling nationwide and NRHA is doing its part with a number of “green” projects. So much so that an in-depth article will appear on NRHA “green” initiatives in an upcoming issue of NAHRO Journal of Housing and Community Development. Last year, NRHA, in collaboration with one of its builder partners - - Associated General Contractors - - constructed the first affordable “green” house in Hampton Roads ($175,000) which met EarthCraft certification, in the Berkley section of the city. EarthCraft certified homes have higher energy efficiency and indoor air quality standards, cost less to maintain and are more durable than standard constructed homes. Also last fall, the first multi-family construction project in Hampton Roads to receive Energy Star designation took place at NRHA’s 44-acre property, Grandy Village property with completion of 11 duplex buildings.
The EnergyStar duplexes at Grandy Village
Because of the great success of these projects and in keeping with its commitment to building sustainable communities, NRHA announced on Earth Day 2008, another 27 EarthCraft residences will be under construction this fall at a new development encompassing nearly three acres in the 1500 block of Church Street (former Brewery site). The two and three bedroom mixed-income townhouses will be complementary in design to those located in Broad Creek and East Church. Infrastructure work at the site has already begun and home construction should commence in the fall. The former Brewery site on Church Street has been cleared to make way for 27 new EarthCraft townhomes.
Additional green building will take place once again at Grandy Village with construction of a 15,000 square foot environmental and educational learning laboratory on the riverfront that will benefit the children of Grandy Village and neighboring Chesterfield Academy, as well as children throughout Norfolk. The proposed center will meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Level certification, achieving 33-38 points out of a possible 69 point scale for sustainability and efficiency. Also on the drawing board at Grandy Village is a 100-unit senior apartment building which will obtain a similar rating. Complete with a wetlands nature trail and canoe/ kayak launch, both children and adults will be able to enjoy learning about this vital tidal wetlands area and the animals and organisms that make it their home. Rendering of proposed Grandy Village Community Center Grandy Village will be featured this October during the annual Virginia Municipal League conference, which the City of Norfolk will be hosting. City and community leaders from localities across the Commonwealth will have the opportunity to tour Grandy Village to learn about the green building practices being used by NRHA, along with the wetlands restoration project and the proposed community center.
HRV was the first firm in Virginia to receive an NMTC allocation and now is the first firm to successfully combine two community development tools that will enhance the economic vitality of lower income communities. Additionally, the new hotel will participate in Marriott’s “Pathways to Independence Program,” which will help to bring jobs and training. HRV has established a new financial model, leveraging funds in a way that has never before been accomplished, which other communities may be able to put to use in order to promote private capital investments in economically challenged communities.
Additional Recognition from NAHRO
Two other programs received Awards of Merit from NAHRO: NRHA’s Strategic Plan and EarthCraft/Energy Star Residences.
To better position NRHA for the future and in a desire to keep on fiscally sound footing, NRHA leadership formed a 20-employee Strategic Plan Direction Setting Team and engaged Springsted Inc., a management and financial advisory firm, to craft a five-year strategic plan, believed to be the most extensive organization-wide plan in the company’s over 60-year history. After completing multiple planning stages and identifying and clarifying the authority’s mission, values, and goals, NRHA is ready to set a course of action to achieve long-range goals. The project called upon NRHA staff, the community, and an outside agency to assess external factors as well as organizational structure. By creating new goals and objectives, as well as measurements to determine progress and achievement, NRHA is better prepared for a brighter future that will benefit the city of Norfolk as well as the authority’s employees and partners. Focus group participants applauded the mission statement for it brevity, transparency and its forward leaning determination. The vision statement was also well received for the aggressive standard NRHA was envisioning for itself and for the city as a whole. Strategic Planning Team
EarthCraft & Energy Star Residences:
In October 2007, NRHA completed the first Energy Star certified multi-family building in Hampton Roads as well as Norfolk’s first Earth Craft home. In an effort to protect the environment and reduce energy usage, NRHA used Energy Star products and guidelines at the Grandy Village duplexes and EarthCraft principles at a single-family detached home located in the Berkley neighborhood. In addition to being energy efficient and environmentally friendly, these residences are also cost effective. The new homes reduce utility bills and provide better indoor air quality and durable construction. The rents for the two- and three-bedroom Grandy Village apartments start at $450 per month for working income-qualified households. The EarthCraft home was sold to a first-time homebuyer, who received homeownership counseling from NRHA’s HomeNet Center, for about $175,000. The goal of these energy conserving residences was to provide the benefits of “green” building standards to all households, not just higher-end housing, which was accomplished at both the Grandy Village assisted-rental apartments and the affordable single-family structure. In addition to the residences being affordable in rent and price, the month-to-month operational costs are lower using these “green” building features, allowing the renters and owners the ability to stay in their homes at lower costs. The Grandy Village apartments are the first Energy Star certified multi-family buildings in the Hampton Roads region. Likewise, the Berkley single-family home is the first EarthCraft home in the city of Norfolk. As NRHA Executive Director Shurl Montgomery stated, “These two firsts are just the start of an aggressive green building program NRHA will have underway in the months ahead to ‘prime the pump’ for private sector emulation.” Earthcraft Home
FY 2009 Budget Adopted & Strategic Plan Moves Forward
On the Horizon Chesapeake Street: A Request for Qualifications was issued for the opportunity to purchase assembled parcels totaling 3.67 acres and create a signature development along the Chesapeake Bay front in the Ocean View area of the city. Developer responses are under review.
On June 30 The NRHA Board of Commissioners adopted a FY 2009 capital and operating budget of $96.7 million, which is $7.6 million (7%) less than the previous year budget of $104.2 million. Housing operations accounts for $67 million (69%) of the budget and development activities make up $27.5 million (28%). NRHA receives 48% of total funding from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants, 12% from City of Norfolk and 11% from other sources such as development, property management and bond fees as well as tax credit equity. The FY 2009 budget will support these key initiatives, among others: • Enhance Housing Choice Voucher program to attract more landlords and provide direct deposit for housing assistance payments; • Implementation of new safety and security plan at assisted-rental properties; • Improvements at Grandy Village, such as new senior apartment building and community center; • Hunter Square renovations; • Completion of Mission College Apartments renovations; • Expansion of workforce and youth development partnerships; • Expand Purchase Renovation Program for residential dwelling; • Community Revitalization programs in Wards Corner and Willoughby; • Land acquisition and assembly for Hampton Roads Transit light rail project (“The Tide”); • Old Dominion University Village and South Brambleton redevelopment activities; • Twenty-seven mixed-income townhouse development on Church Street; and • Site planning for new townhome development in Lamberts Point. Also on June 30 the Board received an update on implementation of NRHA’s five-year strategic plan. To date the Board has been briefed and provided feedback and input for the new vision, mission, values, goals, objectives and initiatives. The last piece of business to complete the plan is development of performance measures, which are indicators that assess progress toward goal accomplishment. Executive Director Montgomery told the Board that the performance measures would tie the annual budget to the strategic plan and for FY 2010 “the plan will drive the budget.”
HomeNet Reports Zero Foreclosures In spite of surging residential mortgage defaults, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s HomeNet center reports zero foreclosures among its low to moderate income first-time homebuyer clients. Over the course of seven years, HomeNet has served over 300 clients. The HomeNet program, a partnership between NRHA, local lending institutions, housing developers, real estate firms, financial counselors as well as local, state and federal housing agencies, serves as a housing resource center, linking families to the many housing choices in Norfolk, as well as to the resources needed to make their dream home a reality. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports, “U.S. home foreclosures and the rate of homes entering the foreclosure process rose to record highs in the first quarter of 2008 with increases across many loan classes.” While a national trend of foreclosures continues to climb, low to moderate buyers utilizing the HomeNet program are staying in their homes, according to LaShawn Fortes, HomeNet Manager. These buyers usually qualify for financial assistance, such as below market mortgages, if they successfully complete HomeNet’s training program. The mission of the HomeNet Homeownership Center is to demystify the home buying process and empower participants to make informed decisions during the often complex home buying process. The program includes credit and purchase counseling, a VHDA-approved first-time home buyer education class, qualified lenders, realtors and attorneys and SPARC interest rate discount.
NRHA & Lee’s Friends - A Strong Collaboration This spring, NRHA combined efforts with Lee’s Friends, a local philanthropic organization helping cancer patients and their families, in their annual Run on the Wild Side at the Virginia Zoo. Lee’s Friends and NRHA have worked together previously to support women in the local community who currently have or have had any form of cancer. A number of residents in NRHA’s Calvert Square and Young Terrace
NRHA Executive Director Shurl Montgomery presents a check to Lee’s Friends Executive Director Carol Olsen.
communities have received services from Lee’s Friends such as transportation to and from doctor appointments and vouchers for wigs as hair loss is often a side effect of chemotherapy treatments. Last fall, “A Day of Empowerment, Bringing Out the Beauty in You,” sponsored by social work students from Norfolk State University, Young Terrace, Calvert Square and Lee’s Friends was held at the Calvert Square Family Investment Center. Female cancer survivors were invited to attend an afternoon of relaxation and comfort that included free manicures, massages, hair care and makeup sessions. A dynamic guest speaker entertained the attendees and lunch was served. A Cancer Survival Toolbox, an audio resource program endorsed by the National Cancer Institute, was also distributed. Building on this successful event, “Women Empowering Women Extravaganza” was held on April 18 at the Young Terrace Community
NRHA employees relax after completing the 5k Run on the Wild Side.
Center for women with acute and chronic illnesses. Again, women were pampered with massages, manicures, facials and food. Guest speakers addressed healthy living choices and offered motivation and inspiration. Educational and community resource information was also distributed. A special program entitled “Children’s Day Out” was held for children of parents attending the function and included arts and crafts, food and other activities.
A resident receives pampering during NRHA was also a major co-sponsor of “Run on the Wild Side”, an annual fundraiser for the charitable organization. the “Women Empowering Women A total of 49 NRHA employees participated by either running/walking in the event, volunteering, donating a pledge of Extravaganza” event. support or sponsoring a resident of one of NRHA’s communities to run/walk. According to the event chairpersons at Lee’s
Friends, this year’s event had more participation of runners/walkers than in past years and raised more contributions
than projected. NRHA employee contributions totaled $1,358, which the Authority matched. Therefore, NRHA’s total contribution to Lee’s Friends is $2,716.
The Tide Rolls in with NRHA Help Hampton Roads Transit’s 7.4 mile light rail project, The Tide, is under construction from Eastern Virginia Medical School to Newtown Road. NRHA is acquiring land parcels needed for project completion under a $5 million contract with HRT. The Authority was selected for the land acquisition portion of The Tide because of its expertise in assembling land for redevelopment purposes. NRHA, in addition to acquiring needed properties, is providing business and residential relocation services.
NRHA Receives $13 million SPARC Grant The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) announced that $13 million in funds, the largest amount designated to any authority in the state, will be allocated to NRHA to finance affordable homes in the city. The NRHA HOME Program was awarded $5 million for eligible low- to-moderate income homebuyers and the HomeNet Homeownership Center was awarded $7 million for eligible market-rate homebuyers. The allocation will enable NRHA to approve a one percent discounted interest rate for eligible first-time homebuyers to purchase new-construction homes in Norfolk. Aproximately 81 first-time homebuyers are expected to benefit.
Broad Creek Open House Draws Potential Buyers A community open house was held at Broad Creek on Sunday, May 18, which showcased for-sale residences from $299,000 to $449,000 as well as a preview of the next development phase, which will feature over 200 condos, townhouses and single-family detached dwellings as well as neighborhood retail. Construction is expected to be underway this fall. Broad Creek, Hampton Roads’ first mixed-use, mixed-income community, is a walkable urban village. Community amenities will include the Kroc Center (a state-of-the-art wellness and fitness facility, with co-located anchor library), a lush linear park and easy access to The Tide light rail. The event featured a combination of new construction and resale single family detached and attached townhome units by area real estate partners as well as promotion of the Northside (the second development phase) by William E. Wood Realtors.
On the Horizon Tivest, Inc. has been selected to build 18 townhomes in the Village East section of Broad Creek with construction anticipated to begin late summer.
Local radio station personality Doc Christian of 105.3 KISS FM was Broad Creek on site for a live remote. Additional advertising for the event and Broad Creek was promoted through a full page ad in The Virginian-Pilot’s At Home Section, radio spots as well as direct mail flyers. William E. Wood Realtors were also on hand to promote the next-phase of development.Some 200 guests toured the community, enjoying beautiful weather and one of Norfolk’s finest neighborhoods.
NRHA provides equal housing and employment opportunities for all persons. NRHA does not discriminate against any resident, applicant or employee because of age, race, color, handicap, religion, sex, familial status or national origin. This is the eighth issue of NRHA Patterns, which covers the range of all NRHA activities. It is published by the NRHA Office of Communications and Marketing. (757) 623.1111 TDD# (800) 545.1833, ext. 548 www.nrha.us P.O. Box 968 Norfolk, VA 23501
Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority's Newsletter