Plaza Roberto Maestas in Seattle; the Lindley in Bethesda, Maryland; and the Watson in Quincy, Massachusetts, have been selected as the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing’s 2019 Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award.

The annual award recognizes best practices in the development of housing that is affordable to people with a broad range of incomes. Developments eligible for the award are those in which all or a portion of the units are affordable to households earning up to 120 percent of the median income in the areas in which the projects are located.

The three winning projects, which were chosen by a jury of national housing leaders, were recognized today during ULI’s 2019 Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C. Terwilliger Center founder and former ULI Chairman J. Ronald Terwilliger chaired the jury. “Building affordable housing is not getting any easier. But thanks to the hard work of those who are truly committed, we know it can be done,” Terwilliger said. “These projects demonstrate the hard work, creative thinking, and leadership that are necessary to provide affordable housing for those who so desperately need it. They are all examples of what is achievable, and it is my hope that they inspire more creativity and more solutions in more of our communities.”

Selection of the winners is based on outstanding achievements in several areas, including affordability, innovative financing and building technologies, proximity to employment centers and transportation hubs, quality of design, involvement of public/private partnerships, and replicability of the development.

Details on the 2019 winners are as follows:

  • Owned by El Centro de la Raza, a civil rights organization grounded in the Latino community that provides a range of services, Plaza Roberto Maestas is a landmark equitable transit-oriented development in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. This development locates affordable housing close to high-quality transit, economic opportunities, retail, and recreational amenities. This development directly addresses the urgent need for affordable family housing and economic opportunity in the Beacon Hill neighborhood and is a model for community-inspired transportation-oriented developments.
  • A new luxury, mixed-income multifamily building in Chevy Chase, Maryland, the Lindley is one of the first buildings of its kind to include private equity as a major funding source while remaining under the principal control of a public housing authority. Previously the site of 68 low-rise garden apartments owned by the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, the complex was designed to take advantage of density near major traffic hubs, along with the site of the future Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Purple Line, and can serve as a model for future public/private partnerships to develop affordable and mixed-income housing.
  • A major urban placemaking initiative developed on the site of a long-vacant office building adjacent to a largely dormant ship-building facility, the Watson is a mixed-income development that includes a conference room, a network café with a coffee bar, a clubroom, and a 7,000-square-foot (650 sq m) outdoor space that includes several gathering areas and grill stations. The development hinged entirely on the collaborative efforts of public and private partners to develop an innovative financing structure.

ULI established the Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award in 2008 to show the critical role that housing plays in achieving economic prosperity and a high quality of life, both for individuals and communities. The award honors the memory of Jack Kemp, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a ULI Terwilliger Center national advisory board member.

The jury also recognized the Chicon in Austin, Texas, with a Chairman’s Award, a special recognition bestowed for a creative project designed specifically to address affordable housing issues in the city. The Chicon is a grass-roots, neighborhood-led, mixed-income, mixed-use development one block from what was once the worst open-air drug market in Austin. Two three-story buildings are home to 28 owner-occupied units above commercial space, making the project the very first for-sale affordable housing in Austin to be both mixed-income and mixed-use.

Finalists for the 2019 Kemp Award were Aldrich 51 in Austin, Texas; Beach Green Dunes in Queens, New York; and the Gateway North Apartments in Boston, Massachusetts.

In addition to Terwilliger, members of the 2019 Kemp Award jury were Tamara Dudukovich, vice president and director of development, Catalyst Communities LLC; Alan George, executive vice president and chief investment officer, Equity Residential; Lisa Gordon, president and chief executive officer, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity; Linda Mandolini, president, Eden Housing; and Margaret Wylde, chief executive officer, Pro Matura Group.