FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Columbus, Ohio, (April 20, 2018) — Wheatland Crossing Senior Apartments has been applauded for creating a new affordable senior housing option in The Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus, OH. Wheatland Crossing, developed late last year by The Woda Group, Inc., has also recently earned LEED Platinum certification, the highest certification awarded by the US Green Building Council. The Woda Group, Inc. was renamed Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. in early 2018.
“This prestigious certification represents our commitment to ensure that
residents have low monthly utility rates and comfortable, healthy living spaces,” said Joseph M. McCabe, Vice President–Development, Woda Cooper Companies, Inc.
Wheatland Crossing Senior Apartments is a 42-unit, $8.6 million community designed for residents age 55 and over who earn up to 60 percent of the area median income. It offers one- and two-bedroom units with bright; open concept living spaces; individually-controlled, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems; Energy Star appliances; and washer-dryer hookups. There are also many amenities such as on-site laundry facilities; a community room with kitchenette; and outdoor spaces including a gazebo, sitting area, raised bed gardens, and a Bocce ball court.
“When a building like Wheatland Crossing is certified LEED Platinum, it represents superior energy efficiency and indoor air quality as a result of proven sustainability strategies,” said Sanyog B. Rathod, President and Chief Executive Officer for Sol Design & Consulting, a Cincinnati-based sustainability advisor who assisted with the project.
Wheatland Crossing was slated to earn LEED Gold certification, even higher than the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OFHA)’s minimum standard for funding. However, it was upgraded to LEED Platinum, Rathod explained, after on-site inspections and testing revealed a superior cumulative outcome in energy efficiency, plus seven other LEED points categories including location, suitability of site, indoor air quality, water use efficiency, awareness and education, materials, and design.
Wheatland Crossing’s outstanding results in energy efficiency had a big impact on the Platinum certification, said Rathod. The heating and cooling systems, water heaters, and insulation are all high-efficiency and designed for high performance. “For example, its blown-in exterior wall insulation is better quality and provides more consistent thermal control than standard batt insulation often used in multifamily construction,” Rathod said.
Additional credit through LEED’s innovation point system was awarded to Wheatland Crossing as a result of three main factors: 1.) Achieving the highest standard Energy Star Version 3 certification; 2.) Universal design throughout the development, plus three fully-handicapped accessible units; 3.) Rigorous, mandatory training sessions to educate construction employees, subcontractors, and other trade workers on LEED processes and expectations.
“The training was an important step to ensure that everyone was made aware of sustainability protocols, and worked collectively to achieve the highest possible LEED rating,” Rathod said. Additional training was conducted to educate residents on living in a LEED Platinum building, and on proper use of their apartment’s heating/cooling systems and appliances.
“Achieving LEED Platinum at Wheatland Crossing demonstrates Woda Cooper’s commitment to go above and beyond the minimal LEED requirements,” said Rathod. “This not only helps residents at Wheatland Crossing, it also raises the bar for sustainability for all affordable housing.”
Rental housing with sustainability and age-in-place features for seniors is in high demand in The Hilltop neighborhood, said McCabe. According to Woda Cooper’s pre-construction market studies, over 83% of the area’s 2,500 rental units available in the local market area were built before 1974. These do not typically reflect modern efficiency or accessibility standards, McCabe said. Many have outdated heating and cooling systems with aging insulation, and bedrooms and bathrooms that are often on the second level, limiting access.
“Most typical rental homes in The Hilltop do not allow for seniors to age-in-place,” said McCabe. “Seniors have had few suitable options until Wheatland Crossing.”
Woda Cooper’s affiliate Woda Management & Real Estate, LLC, oversees day-to-day management. Supportive services, such as daily meal service; health/wellness referrals; social activities; financial counseling; and other supports, are coordinated by Homes on the Hill – Community Development Corporation and LifeCare Alliance, two local nonprofit agencies.
The primary source of funding for Wheatland Crossing was made possible through the allocation of housing tax credits, bonds, and other loans from OFHA, including $1 million in Ohio Housing Trust Funds. The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) invested approximately $4.1 million in equity for the tax credits, with Huntington National Bank as the secondary investor. Key Bank provided $4.6 million in construction financing and the Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County provided a bridge loan of $2.5 million. The City of Columbus pledged $500,000 through a Housing Preservation Bond Grant.
Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. and its affiliates are experienced developers, general contractors, and property managers specializing in the design, construction, and management of affordable multi-family apartments, senior communities, and single-family homes. Considered leading experts in the affordable housing industry, the Woda Cooper team is known for producing and maintaining high quality affordable housing. Affordable Housing Finance ranked the firm 6th overall among Affordable Housing Developers and 29nd overall among Affordable Housing Owners in its April/May 2018 issue. Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. has developed and currently manages more than 300 communities and 12,000 units, operating in 15 states. Offices are located in Columbus, Ohio; Annapolis, Maryland; Savannah, Georgia; Shelbyville, Kentucky; Norfolk, Virginia; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Mackinaw City, Michigan. For more information, call (614) 641-3200 or visit www.wodagroup.com.
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