Affordable housing is in great demand in Alaska – people enter a lottery to even get their names on a waiting list. So the grand opening of an East Anchorage affordable housing complex for active seniors was cause for celebration Wednesday when about 50 people listened to speakers and toured the two-building complex.
In three weeks Cook Inlet Housing Authority had received almost twice as many applications as it has units at Creekview Plaza 49. The demand reflects the growing need for affordable housing. Alaska Housing Finance Corporation director Bryan Butcher said it took a long list of agencies, companies, and individuals to come up with the 17 million dollars to fund Creekview Plaza, and to complete the project.
“With all of these people coming together, with synergy, as mentioned earlier, the cohesive strength of that group allows things like this to happen with the leadership of CIHA,” said Butcher.
Cook Inlet Housing Authority director Carol Gore said in addition to 49 apartments, the complex includes nearly 7,000 square feet of commercial space available for lease. Income from those leases will help keep residential rents down. But Gore said the main idea behind mixed use development is to bring amenities closer to residents, to encourage pedestrian traffic, and to add character.
“The design of our buildings are intended to respect our culture, to respect our neighborhoods, respect the place,” Gore said. “And I really hope people remember that’s part of the story. That it’s not just building. It’s not just bricks and mortar. This is really a people business and not a building business.”
Gore said it was also important to make Creekview energy efficient. She said pumps that transfer heat from underground will subsidize 60% of the heating costs.
“It also has a solar PV system that reduces the electrical energy cost for this building. So we think of that as part of that sustainability,” said Gore. “We also think about that at least in the Native culture as being respectful of the land, and using the resources that are there for us to use to benefit the residents that live there.”
Creekview Plaza 49 is available to Native and non-Native seniors age 55 and up with low and modest incomes. It has 43 one-bedroom, and six two-bedroom apartments, each with a kitchen, living room, full bath, and washer and dryer. The complex includes several common areas where residents can visit, work on projects, or sit outside and admire the view of Chester Creek. Rent will be up to $843 for a one-bedroom apartment, and $1,050 for a two-bedroom.
Cook Inlet Housing Authority has other affordable housing projects in the works, including a 33-unit facility at Spenard and 36th Avenue in Anchorage due for completion in the fall of 2017.