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McCormack Baron Salazar, Partners to Celebrate Grand Opening of Senior Living at Cambridge Heights

April 22, 2011 | McCormack Baron Salazar

The St. Louis Housing Authority, McCormack Baron Salazar, KAI Design & Build, and Urban Strategies plan to celebrate the Grand Opening of Senior Living at Cambridge Heights at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 29. A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new development, located at 728 Biddle Street, will be led by former St. Louis Housing Authority commissioner Sal Martinez. Mayor Francis Slay, 5th Ward Alderwoman April Ford-Griffin, and McCormack Baron Salazar Chief Operating Officer Vince Bennett are also scheduled to attend the ceremony.

Where once stood the Cochran Gardens public housing project (and some of the City of St. Louis’ last remaining public housing towers) is now an attractive mixed-income neighborhood known as Cambridge Heights. The redevelopment of Cochran Gardens into Cambridge Heights,  launched by a 2003 HOPE VI Grant and Revitalization Plan designed by KAI/Carleton, community residents and stakeholders, has breathed new life into an area that long struggled with issues of decline and disinvestment. Capitalizing on this momentum, McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS), in partnership with the St. Louis Housing Authority (SLHA), developed Senior Living at Cambridge Heights, a 117-unit, 3-story single-building, affordable senior independent living facility, designed to serve the unique needs of the community’s senior residents.  KAI Design & Build was the Project Architect and General Contractor.

The $18.5 million Senior Living at Cambridge Heights project, an approximately 90,000 square feet residential building, features 114 one-bedroom units and 3 two-bedroom units with office space for the management agent, a community room, laundry facilities on each floor, lounge areas, a billiard room, a computer room, and a fitness center. The project features universal design elements and integrated service coordination. In addition, Senior Living at Cambridge Heights was designed for certification under the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, which encourage housing developments that are environmentally sensitive, socially connected and better for residents’ health without compromising resident affordability. It is anticipated that energy and water use at the building will be 20-30% more efficient than comparable developments, and its location—close to the MetroBus and MetroLink light-rail stations and adjacent to the many retail, dining and recreational offerings of Downtown St. Louis—offers ample opportunities for seniors to remain active and connected to the surrounding community. The site was the final vacant block redeveloped into new housing on the original Cochran Gardens site.

The project was financed with nearly $8.6 million in Public Housing Capital Funds from the St. Louis Housing Authority, nearly $8.01 million in tax credit equity from US Bancorp CDC generated from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Affordable Housing Assistance Program Tax Credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC), $1 million in Tax Credit Assistance Program Funds from MHDC, and $900,000 of HOME Funds from MHDC.

Construction financing was provided by Enterprise Bank and Trust and the Industrial Development Authority of the City of St. Louis. The St. Louis Housing Authority in conjunction with the project also contributed an additional $920,000 for site preparation and public infrastructure costs.

“Senior Living at Cambridge Heights truly carries out SLHA’s mission by providing affordable housing opportunities for senior citizens,” said SLHA Executive Director Cheryl Lovell.

The project partners placed strong emphasis on minority and disadvantaged business participation as well as hiring from low-income populations in the city (Section 3). In total, the project resulted in 33% Minority-Owned Enterprise Contracts, 1% Women--Owned Enterprise contracts, and 16% Section 3 contracts.  Overall, 33% of new hires on the project were Section 3 workers.

In addition to the physical development, Urban Strategies will serve as a consultant to ensure a smooth transition for each resident into the new facility. To further support the senior residents of Cambridge Heights, Urban Strategies will and coordinate and implement a full range of services on-site, including transportation, homemaker services, and home delivered meals, in order to better help residents age in place.

Tags: 2011