The Virgin Islands Housing Authority and McCormack Baron Salazar to Celebrate Grand Opening of Louis E. Brown Senior Villas

December 17, 2013 | McCormack Baron Salazar

St. Croix, USVI – Representatives from the Virgin Islands Housing Authority, McCormack Baron Salazar, the Virgin Islands Energy Office, and government officials will gather with residents on December 18, 2013 to celebrate the grand opening of the Louis E. Brown Senior Villas.

The second phase of the new Louis E. Brown affordable housing community includes 40 apartments specially designed to accommodate the needs of seniors. The $14.5 million development features one and two bedroom units in an elevator-accessed 3-story building. The architecture of the building, which was designed by Corwil Architects of Coral Gables, FL, complements the style of the first phase of Louis E. Brown with balconies, courtyards and climate-appropriate landscaping. St. Croix-based GEC, LLC served as the General Contractor on the project and ongoing services will be provided to the seniors through the V.I. Department of Human Services. Full occupancy is anticipated by the end of January, 2014.

The Louis E. Brown redevelopment effort is the largest ever undertaken by the Virgin Islands Housing Authority and overcame several unique challenges, including mitigating high utility costs through solar energy and water reuse, using resilient building techniques to diminish the threat from storms, and using local expertise to handle the logistics of obtaining raw materials.

“This community is a demonstration of the Virgin Island Housing Authority’s commitment to building excellence in affordable housing and increasing housing opportunities for residents of the Virgin Islands,” explained Housing Authority Executive Director Robert Graham. “Moreover,” Graham continued “This attractive architecture reflects the value that we place on lifting the spirits of our seniors with superior housing. This building will not only have energy generated by the energetic light within our seniors, but also from a progressive net-metering system that will reduce the energy cost for residents.” Graham added, ”This model housing is a result of creative partnerships with the territory, HUD and experienced developers to maximize invested resources to produce exceptional housing that restores Crucian pride and nurtures the legacy of our seniors.”

Louis E. Brown Senior Villas was financed through equity generated from 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits with Replacement Housing Factor funds, Public Housing Development Grant funds and Capital Fund Grant funds from the Virgin Islands Housing Authority, along with renewable energy tax credits. Developer McCormack Baron Salazar was asked to join the project when it was already underway, to help ensure the successful completion of the project, in partnership with the Virgin Islands Housing Authority.

Meg Manley, Senior Vice President of McCormack Baron Salazar said, “The obstacles faced by everyone trying to build in the islands, including material costs, building resilient homes, and addressing high utility costs, are exacerbated when developing affordable housing. This project required pulling together a complicated combination of financing sources, each with differing regulations and requirements. The result of these efforts can be seen today: a high-quality, attractive community that appeals to residents, the community and visitors to the island.”