Mayor Francis Slay to Celebrate Grand Opening of North Sarah Apartments, a New North-Central St. Louis Community
Representatives from the St. Louis Housing Authority, McCormack Baron Salazar, U.S. Bank and the City of St. Louis will gather on October 22, 2012 to celebrate the grand opening of the first phase of the new North Sarah community. The mixed-income housing development will help revitalize an underserved area of land just north of Gaslight Square and east of the Central West End neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri.
Developed by McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. in partnership with the St. Louis Housing Authority, the new North Sarah Community includes 120 mixed-income apartments, in a combination of townhome and garden-style units. The community includes a mix of two and three-story buildings, plus almost 12,000 square feet of commercial, management and community space, which will include a small, locally-owned, fresh food grocery store. The team of R.G. Brinkmann and Simms Building Group served as the general contractor on the project.
In addition to the physical improvements, the development team has partnered with Urban Strategies, Inc. to engage residents of the community and help lower-income residents follow viable, upwardly-mobile career and life paths, by connecting them with health, financial, recreational, educational, employment and entrepreneurial resources and services. TAALKE LLC was engaged to coordinate disadvantaged business contracts and facilitate job training and Section 3 hiring opportunities for residents.
“This community is a manifestation of the St. Louis Housing Authority’s mission in the 21st Century: to use physical housing development to catalyze holistic community revitalization,” explained St. Louis Housing Authority Executive Director Cheryl Lovell. “Everything in North Sarah, from the environmentally-sustainable architecture to the inclusion of flexible live-work spaces to the structure of the human capital services is designed to support and enrich the lives of people from all walks of life, means, and abilities.”
The architecture of North Sarah celebrates the historic character of the neighborhood while featuring sustainable technology – including anticipated certification under the Enterprise Green Communities criteria, the premier affordable housing green certification program based on USGBC’s LEED program.
Vincent R. Bennett, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of McCormack Baron Salazar said, “Sustainability means a lot of things: reducing a building’s impact on the environment is just a piece of this. The sustainable features at North Sarah also include creating healthy living environments for our residents by reducing toxins and ensuring sufficient air flow. The community is walkable and connected to transit, keeping non-drivers like seniors and the disabled from becoming isolated. And the fresh food grocery will provide healthy living choices that will sustain our residents in the long-term.”
Phase I of the North Sarah development represents a financial investment of over $30 million, including $4.7 million in infrastructure, environmental remediation and demolition and $25.8 million in residential construction. Sources of funding for the project include: $13 million from the St. Louis Housing Authority and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; more than $12 million of federal and state tax credit equity from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) generated by an allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission; construction financing and a mortgage provided by U.S. Bank; HOME funds provided by the Missouri Housing Development Commission; and funding from the City of St. Louis.
“The production of safe and secure housing is a key to anchoring and aiding the success of individuals, families, and communities across the country,” said Beth Stohr, Director of Affordable Housing Tax Credit Investments for U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, the St. Louis-based community investment subsidiary of U.S. Bank. “As a member of the St. Louis community, we’re proud to work with other local partners including McCormack Baron Salazar and the St. Louis Housing Authority to help create positive, sustainable impact.”
As a demonstration of the national importance of this project, HUD awarded a $7.8 million HOPE VI Grant to the project in 2011. The HOPE VI funds will support the removal of the final Blumeyer public housing tower at 3501 Franklin Avenue in Grand Center and will relocate those residents to the new community.