Silver Lakes earns national recognition

Tia Lynn Ivey News

A Silver Lakes, a new senior community in Madison, has earned a national award. Silver Lakes, owned by the Woda Group, won the Affordable Housing Finance’s (AHF) 13th annual Readers’ Choice Awards competition out of 36 finalists across the country.

Silver Lakes, which is a $7.5 million affordable housing development for seniors, is part of the City of Madison’s long-time vision to redevelop the West Washington Gateway.

“It’s projects like these that our local community can be proud of when affordable housing receives this magazine’s Readers Choice Award,” said Madison Mayor Fred Perriman. “That says a lot about the community in which we live…We have volunteer boards working together, such as the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the Greenspace Conservation Commission (GCC), and the Transferrable Development Rights (TDR) program – this all helped create these 44 units in Silver Lakes here in our city. That says a lot about what our community is all about. My congrats to the Woda Group and Parallel Housing for garnering this honor.”

“Silver Lakes was a creative solution to address the housing needs in our community,” said Chris Hodges, member of the Madison City Council. “It’s a beautiful project. It serves this community’s needs and we need more projects like this one. Our staff is gifted and visionary. They lead us to get this kind of national recognition.”

The City worked with The Woda Group, Inc., a national affordable housing developer based out of Columbus, Ohio, and Parallel Housing, a non-profit entity from Athens, to encourage the project to come to fruition in Madison. The City took advantage of its Transferrable Development Rights (TDR) ordinance to approve the Silver Lakes project in a way that brought density to one part of the city while preserving greenspace in another.

“It is such a valuable planning tool to have to make a project like this work,” said Hodges.

Silver Lakes has 44 units for rent for seniors aged 55 years and better.  There are 28 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom units. The amenities include a multipurpose room, a community garden, a fully-equipped fitness room, and a computer lab. The Woda Group and Parallel Housing transformed the John T. Turnell historic home into a now state-of-the art senior community.

According to AHF, “There are no boundaries when it comes to the need for affordable housing. The demand stretches from urban centers to rural hamlets, from thriving tech capitals to dying factory towns, from red states to blue states. Thirty-six developments that are answering the need for housing have been selected as finalists in Affordable Housing Finance’s 13th annual Readers’ Choice Awards competition. Located in 15 states, each is unique in its approach to tackling the housing crisis. There’s a development serving school district employees in Los Angeles, a turnaround of one of Detroit’s most troubled apartment complexes, scattered-site homes that integrate the disabled into the community in Chicago, and a mixed-use project in Seattle with job training for homeless young adults and a food bank. The finalists were chosen from 120 entries and selected based on their impact and innovation.”

According to Donna Kimura, editor for AHF, “To build Silver Lakes, the developers worked closely with city leaders to create a community that works in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood while having the appropriate density to be financially viable.

In order to do that, the team utilized the concept of ‘transfer development rights,’ a move unique in a small rural community. Under the approach, the city transferred the development rights from other sites it owns to boost the density at Silver Lakes.”

Kimura explains, “Silver Lakes is financed with approximately $6.5 million in federal and state low-income housing tax credit equity from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. In addition to awarding the credits, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs allocated $1 million in HOME funds.

Silver Lakes, which recently earned LEED Gold certification, includes several green building features, including solar panels and advanced insulation to reduce utility costs.

In addition, the city has created a new walking path that connects the property to an adjacent park. There is also an indoor fitness center and a computer room within the complex.”

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