Award of Excellence: Golden Inn and Village Affordable Housing Community
The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara won a 2017 Award of Excellence in Project Design for building a new affordable housing community for families and seniors that promotes outdoor recreation and social interaction. Nominated from among the NAHRO Award of Merit winners each year, the Awards of Excellence winners are chosen by national juries and honored at the annual National Conference and Exhibition in October. They represent the very best in innovative programs in assisted housing and community development. The Project Design category focuses primarily on the physical or landscape design of a building or project.
The Golden Inn project is a 7.3-acre campus-like development in Santa Barbara that offers multi-generational housing and senior services for low-income families. The senior apartments are owned in partnership by Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara (HACSB), Surf Development Company, Rona Barrett Foundation, MUFG Union Bank, and RRM Design Group built both the senior and family apartment buildings and designed the project site improvement plans. The architectural firm Piekert Group Architects designed five percent of units with mobility features and two percent with communication features. The electrical system was designed by Gray Electrical Consulting & Engineering, LLC and is expected to perform 36 percent better than California’s energy efficiency lighting power density requirements. The Santa Ynez Valley community embraced this development from the start, providing both financial support and volunteer services. The senior development has an on-site activities director, beauty shop, card room, commercial kitchen, medical and dental services, and TV parlor. Resident activities and services are provided free of charge by members of the community through the Rona Barrett Foundation’s fundraising and volunteer efforts. The on-site activities director’s salary and activity operating costs are also fully funded by the Rona Barrett Foundation through community fundraising. HACSB provides property management and maintenance staffing.
Throughout the planning and development process, The Rona Barrett Foundation launched a public relations campaign that garnered community support and favorable media coverage for the project. Fundraising efforts brought in local celebrity support from The David Geffen Foundation, including social justice activist and musician David Crosby. Golden Inn residents were invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, where they received a warm reception from local politicians and members of the community. The 60-unit development includes 20 studio units and 40 one-bedroom units equipped with independent kitchens. A commercial kitchen is also adjacent to the dining facility in the community center. The grounds are designed with walking trails, drought-tolerant landscapes, and historic oak trees. The 28-unit mix includes eight one-bedroom apartments, 10 two-bedroom apartments, and ten three-bedroom apartments.
About 20 percent of the senior building space is designated for common use and includes a computer room, library, card room, and other multi-use rooms for clubs and organizations. The central courtyard has seating for seniors and visitors in view of the surrounding rolling hills and vineyards. All apartments have EnergyStar appliances to conserve energy and most of the HVAC units meet the energy requirements to receive energy rebates. Water conservation fixtures and energy-efficient tankless water heaters were installed to cut costs on energy usage as well. HACSB installed photovoltaic solar systems were installed to reduce energy use from the grid, singular HVAC units including common areas to reduce power usage. They also used a water-conserving irrigation design, drought-tolerant plants, and building fixtures to reduce water usage. A dry creek runs throughout the property to capture rainwater and to prevent runoff. Five water retention basins were installed to capture onsite rainwater and assist with replenishing the aquifers located below the development.
The property incorporates natural native vegetation into its landscape design. Walking paths lead to an outdoor gathering site that is equipped with a tot lot and Santa Maria-style barbecue. The grocery store, YMCA, and schools are all within walking distance from the Golden Inn & Village campus. A bus stop was installed for public transportation within walking distance of the development and is available to transport residents to medical facilities, banks, restaurants, and to the nearby Solvang Danish Village, which has direct bus service to the Santa Barbara train station. The total development cost for the senior development is $21,702,156 or $361,702 per unit; for the family development, it is $12,300,394 or $439,299 per unit. The property was developed in accordance with GreenPoint Rated Multifamily Guidelines.
Funding sources for the senior and family developments included nine percent LIHTCs, solar credits, seller carryback note, a deferred developer fee, and loans. All residents fall below 61 percent of the area median income; 55 percent fall below 51 percent of the area median income. Tenant rents are subsidized with project-based housing choice vouchers and security deposit assistance is provided through the tenant-based rental assistance program. Tenant rents are also subsidized with project-based housing choice vouchers and security deposit assistance through the tenant-based rental assistance program.