March 23, 2021, Columbus, Ohio…Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. is pleased to announce the new $14 million Osborn Commons in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, has been certified LEED Gold by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Osborn Commons is located at 215 Governor Osborn Boulevard in “The Soo’s” Moloney Alley redevelopment area of Sault Ste. Marie.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and an international symbol of excellence. Through design, construction, and operations practices that improve environmental and human health, LEED-certified buildings are helping to make the world more sustainable. LEED-certified buildings have 34 percent lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, according to USGBC.
“With the City of Sault Ste. Marie being a premier outdoor vacation destination, we are keenly aware of the economic importance of maintaining the health and wellbeing of our natural surroundings,” said Mayor Don Gerrie. “We were gratified to receive news that Osborn Commons has been recognized as meeting the LEED Gold standards, making it the first building in our City to receive that honor.”
Osborn Commons has 65 mixed-income apartment homes with a 4th floor outdoor terrace offering fantastic views of the Soo Locks. It is also home to the new Market on Osborn retail store that sells groceries, specialty foods, and other convenience items, and eliminates the neighborhood’s longtime food desert.
“Osborn Commons brings more housing to downtown Sault Ste. Marie, including affordable and market rate housing, in a fantastic energy-efficient development that bridges the Soo Locks area with the rest of downtown,” said Craig Patterson, Woda Cooper Companies’ Senior Vice President – Development. “The vision for Osborn Commons started with a comprehensive state placemaking initiative led by the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to transform Sault Ste. Marie’s underutilized Moloney Alley into a vibrant LIVE/WORK/PLAY environment poised for further development.”
Osborn Commons provides one, two, and three-bedroom apartments with 63 units available for singles, seniors, and families that earn 30 to 80% of area median income, plus two additional units available at market rate. The apartments offer open-concept living spaces with large energy-efficient windows, high quality finishes, and kitchens with ENERGY STAR appliances, including dishwashers. Each unit has a high efficiency HVAC system; and washer/dryer hookups.
Indoor and outdoor common areas such as a fitness center, common laundry, and two community rooms with kitchenettes, one with an outdoor patio overlooking the historic Soo Locks. There are seven units with features for those with disabilities and the entire property is visitable. At street level, there is a grassy play area with picnic tables and 81 off-street parking spaces.
Market on Osborn is a 2,000-square foot retail opened in December 2020 by local entrepreneurs Steve and Kathy Twardy. The store sells beverages, snacks, dairy products, fresh produce, packaged dry goods, and a large menu of breakfast and lunch food items. “We cater to people who live in and near Osborn Commons, those who work downtown and want a quick stop for breakfast and lunch, and to the half a million visitors who tour the Soo locks each year,” said Steve Twardy. In addition to the store’s main entrance off Governor Osborn Boulevard, a lobby window gives residents in Osborn Commons easy access for purchase without having to go outdoors.
Funding for Osborn Commons was supported through federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) allocated by MSHDA with equity financing by CREA, LLC. Osborn Commons also received a mortgage from Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust and construction loan from Merchants Capital.
Project architect was Hooker DeJong, Inc. with sustainability consulting by Sol Consulting + Design. Woda Cooper Companies’ construction division was general contractor. For more information about Osborn Commons, visit www.wodagroup.com or call 906-636-1990 or 614-396-3200.
About Woda Cooper Companies, Inc.
Woda Cooper Companies, Inc. and its affiliates specialize in the development, design, construction, and management of high-quality affordable multi-family apartments, senior communities, and single-family homes. The company marked 30 years in business May 2, 2020, with operations in 15 states and a portfolio of approximately 350 communities and more than 14,000 units. Green building is standard with certifications including Passive House, Zero Energy Ready Homes, LEED, Enterprise Green, EarthCraft, and ENERGY STAR. In addition to its Columbus headquarters, Woda Cooper has offices in Savannah, GA; Indianapolis, IN; Shelbyville, KY; Annapolis, MD; Mackinaw City, MI; Charlotte, NC; and Norfolk, VA. Affordable Housing Finance magazine ranked Woda Cooper Companies 10th in nation among Developers and 14th among Owners on May 1, 2020.