FORT LAUDERDALE — Fort Lauderdale’s Northwest Gardens affordable housing community has been named the winner of this year’s Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Award (Green Category) by the Washington, D.C.-based Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition.
Northwest Gardens, which is being built in partnership by Carlisle Development Group and The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, has become a model for social, environmental and economic sustainability.
The Carlisle development team says it is overcoming 20 years of inertia in the Northwest Fort Lauderdale area to transform an entire neighborhood (14 blocks totaling 30 acres) of aging housing stock within the boundaries of the Northwest-Progresso-Flagler Heights Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
Matthew Greer, CEO of Carlisle Development Group, stated that “since 2008, we have been fortunate enough to win tax credits to build almost 300 new affordable homes in this neighborhood alone and are hopeful to win 2011 tax credits to complete the four-phased master plan by 2013.”
With a focus on urban self-sufficiency, Northwest Gardens has empowered residents with tools such as a robust urban farm, community gardens, a social entrepreneurship program, direct support for grandparents taking care of grandchildren and onsite vocational training.
In addition the development, which is a combination of rehabilitated units and new construction, incorporates a number of notable green building features, including solar lights, dual flush toilets, water conserving plumbing fixtures, drought-resistant native plants and low-emitting cabinetry, which was constructed a few blocks away through the Housing Authority’s Step Up Apprenticeship program.
“The transformation of Northwest Gardens is bigger than all of us put together. We’re not just building buildings, we are rebuilding a community,” said Tam English, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale.
“Most importantly, the sense of place and of ownership that did not exist is now coming about because of our LEED efforts, because of the farm, the new homes and the network of partnerships we have built. It sets the tone for members of the community to look at this as a fresh start and a bright future,” adds Scott Strawbridge, Director of Development and Facilities at the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale.
Through a public-private partnership, the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale and Carlisle Development Group have been working together to rebuild other nearby communities such as Dr. Kennedy Homes and Dixie Court.
In all, the team says it will have transformed a total of eight communities spanning 20 blocks and more than 50 acres over the course of just six years, and to date has helped bring more than $130 MM in local investment and hundreds of jobs to the Fort Lauderdale community.
THE MORE YOU KNOW
The development has earned numerous accolades and achievements over the past year, including:
• City of Fort Lauderdale Project of the Year, 2012
• City of Fort Lauderdale Community Appearance Award, 2012
• Smart Growth Designation (South Florida Smart Growth Partnership), 2012
• Most Outstanding LEED Multi-Family Project (South Florida U.S. Green Building Council), 2011
• 1st Gold-Certified LEED for Homes (Multi-Family) Community in Florida
• First community in the state set to achieve the LEED for Neighborhood
• Development (ND) Certification
Photo:COURTESY OF CARLISLE DEVELOPMENT GROUP
AWARD WINNING: Fort Lauderdale’s Northwest Gardens.