Collaboration Helps Developer Build Affordable Homes
The latest in a series showcasing the winners of the NAHB 2004 Innovations in Workforce Housing Awards. Entries for the 2006 awards are due by Oct. 28.
Seventy-six families in Newport News, Va., have been able to purchase their first homes, thanks to a collaborative effort between the city and a local developer. The project, Hilton Heights, is one of six 2004 winners of NAHB’s Innovations in Workforce Housing Awards.
Hilton Heights is a neighborhood of 99 homes near historic Hilton Village in Newport News. The project was the work of the Franciscus Company, a builder/developer in the Hampton Roads area.
Of the 99 homes, 76 were sold to first-time home buyers, most from Newport News and the adjacent city of Hampton. The buyers represent a cross section of the area’s workforce, including nurses, school teachers, firefighters, police officers, public utility employees and workers from the local shipyards.
The development was made possible, in part, by the City of Newport News, which allowed the site’s existing zoning for duplexes and townhouses to be changed to small-lot, single-family detached homes. Monarch Bank provided the acquisition and construction financing and looked beyond the below-market appraisals that initially threatened the project’s feasibility.
“Hilton Heights is a showplace community in a neighborhood that is being turned around by concerned home owners,” said Gary Werner, a vice president of the Franciscus Company. “This collaboration between the City of Newport News and the Franciscus Company is an example of the type of partnering that will have to occur if we are going to meet the housing needs of the nation’s workforce.”
The development’s Craftsman-style homes feature “rocking chair-deep” front porches and striking color schemes. The homes range from two bedrooms and 1,192 square feet to three bedrooms and 1,665 square feet. Initial consumer response to the neighborhood was lukewarm, but once the first phases of construction were completed and visitors could see a finished streetscape, sales increased sharply.
“These awards were designed to bring recognition to those builders, developers, architects and organizations that are bringing creativity to the effort to meet the demand for workforce housing,’ said Bobby Rayburn, immediate past president of NAHB. “I am excited to see that builders and developers are finding unique and innovative ways to address the inadequate supply of housing that is affordable to working families.”
Entries for the 2005 Innovations in Workforce Housing Awards Now Being Accepted
The 2005 Innovations in Workforce Housing Awards are open to builders, architects, designers, developers and land planners for communities completed (or for which the first model opened or the first unit was occupied) between Jan. 1, 2003 and Oct. 28, 2005 All entries, including supporting materials, should be postmarked by Oct. 28 to be eligible for inclusion in the competition. Winning entries will be announced at the 2006 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.
For more information about entry guidelines, or to get a copy of the entry form, go to www.nahb.org/workforcehousing or e-mail Blake Smith, or call him at 800-358-5242 x8583.
Next week: Non-Profit Provides Affordable Homes in Metro Atlanta
Award photo by Oscar Einzig Photographers