You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 4:13 p.m.

Near North affordable housing project to get $250,000 in federal funding for green design

By Tina Reed

An affordable housing project north of downtown Ann Arbor was awarded $250,000 in federal funding for its environmentally sustainable elements, Avalon Housing announced today.

The funding was awarded from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Near North.


The latest Near North designs.

Avalon Housing, a non-profit organization that owns and manages affordable housing in Washtenaw County, is partnering on the project with developer Three Oaks.

The 39-unit project is meant to create affordable, environmentally-friendly housing near downtown Ann Arbor to benefit households earning less than 50 percent of Area Median Income. At least 14 of the units would be supportive housing for those with special needs earning less than 30 percent of the AMI.

"This recognizes while there are costs benefits down the road and health benefits for green and affordable housing, there is an upfront cost," said Michael Appel, executive director at Avalon Housing. The funding will help the project overcome those initial costs, he said.

The units would be certified as Energy Star-qualified housing and would achieve LEED certification.

The planned complex has a sustainable site design, water-conserving fixtures, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, and will use "environmentally friendly building materials."

As part of the grant, the complex will also need to be completed using environmentaly-friendly products, implement a construction waste-management plan, use low VOC paints and sealants and low-emitting formaldehyde composite wood, and use mold prevention techniques, according to a release.

It has received a commitment of $800,000 from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority from the the Supportive Housing Program and a $500,000 commitment from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. A Near North application for MSHDA's Low Income Housing Tax Credit program is pending.

Tina Reed covers health and the environment for You can reach her at, call her at 734-623-2535 or find her on Twitter @TreedinAA.



Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 12:09 p.m.

The Avalon Housing project will most likely never get off the ground so all of this speculation and paranoia is a bit annoying. You really think that placing the Avalon Housing on Main street, which is valuable commercial real estate is really going to come to pass? Please get real! This is just like the old Y location both are too valuable for low income projects.


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

You need to tell us who designed the building and who is responsible for the rendering you show, without attribution. That is, you need to tell us who are the architects for this project. It is very important to give credit, to hold accountable, the people who are responsible for this, and other projects, when you report on them. You would never report news from the White House and not quote the president or his (or her) press secretary. You would not report a story on local politics or city activities without quoting or citing the actions of the mayor or councilpersons. You would not want to see your story on the Ann website that did not give you credit for writing it; readers need to know who is responsible for news accounts, events, policies, activities. Without this kind of information, your reporting is incomplete and cannot be credible. Let me be clear, Tina: This IS a knock on you and Ann


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

The site is across the street from the Community Center. It's a five minute walk from the intersection of Huron and Main, the center of town. This is a fine, centrally located PUD development.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:45 p.m.

Tina, not a knock on you, but in four articles about this development at, nothing says where this project would be. I have no idea where 626 North Main is. It could be next to Broken Egg for all I know, and I've lived here over 20 years. Having Googled it, I think it's between the AA Community Center and Felch St. Is that right? If it is, then at least there's one bus that services the area. It always frustrates me when they put an environmentally-friendly building in a location that requires everyone to own a car. And that location *is* a bikeable distance to downtown, though it's a bit out of downtown for walking. Compare that to Carrot Way, which is terrible for walking distance, marginal for biking distance, and is also on only a single bus route. It's not just an environmental concern, either. Transportation is the second biggest household expense in the US, after housing. It's 18% of average family expenses, according to the census bureau. Food is 11%. Thanks for the reporting, and sorry for the grumble!