Minn. Affordable Rental Community Garners LEED Silver Certification

Cascade Creek Apartments, a mixed-use development offering 40 affordable housing units, has been awarded LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

Rochester, Minn.—Cascade Creek Apartments, a mixed-use development designed by JLG Architects and offering 40 affordable housing units, has been awarded LEED for Homes Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

That recognition comes not long after Cascade Creek captured an award of a different sort. Earlier this year, it received one of a dozen 2012 CUDE Awards bestowed by the Rochester Committee on Urban Design and Environment.

The award was given in recognition of the building fitting the appearance and scale of an established neighborhood.

CUDE Awards are presented to projects contributing to the city’s quality of life and enhancing its appearance, function and environmental quality.

“The Cascade Creek Apartments are part of a small block master plan at a prominent corner in the Kutzky Park neighborhood,” Nicole Washburn, project manager and housing architect with JLG Architects in Minneapolis, tells MHN.

“The families care a great deal about their neighborhood and take pride in the way their well-maintained homes contribute to a greater whole and create character for the area. To avoid individual sites and access for the apartments, a daycare and future townhomes, a master plan was developed to bring these uses together, to more efficiently use the site and share access.

“At the same time, this allowed us to better address the scale of the homes along the south side and keep the majority of the mass of the apartments along the major thoroughfare at the north. In the end, it gives a sense of unity and sensitivity that likely would not have been there otherwise,” she says.

Kutzky Park features a diverse stock of beautiful and exceptionally well-tended older homes, Washburn adds. The homes’ common denominator is their traditional style, which provided the architects with a starting concept with which to launch their own work.

“With tradition and durability as a theme, masonry because the primary material,” she says. “The detailing is subtle, but beautiful and interesting. The masons did a tremendous job.”

LEED concepts and the affordable nature of the development forced the architectural team to be efficient and use durable materials.

Low VOC interior materials and increased ventilation provide indoor air quality. Lower resource use and utility costs result from the utilization of insulation, sealing, Energy Star appliances, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and efficient heating, cooling and lighting equipment, Washburn explains.

Cascade Creek Apartments was developed by MetroPlains and First Homes Rochester Area Foundation, and was partially funded by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. According to Washburn, the development contributes to the greater fabric of its neighborhood, and should remain a vital part of that community for years to come.

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