Oberlin, Ohio–Sustainable Community Associates Inc., a newly established real estate company, has just completed its first project, a Brownfield reclamation endeavor that has resulted in a new mixed-use residential property in Oberlin, Ohio. The Oberlin-East College Street development is sustainable through and through and is positioned to spur the revival of the city’s overlooked downtown area.
Located near Oberlin College–the alma mater of SCA’s three cofounders–the Oberlin-East College Street development occupies a three-acre parcel that had been sitting vacant for four decades. The mixed-use property offers 32 rental and for-sale residences and brings together a mixed-income community of tenants. Nineteen of the units are condominiums and the remaining units are rentals, 11 of which are designated for households earning up to 60 percent of the median area income.
Oberlin-East College Street, however, is more than just a place to live. Conceived as a catalyst for the live-work-play concept that local officials hope will be the central theme of a revitalized downtown Oberlin, the property also features 18,000 square feet of office and retail space. Integrated Architecture designed Oberlin-East College Street, which incorporates elements that meet the requirements for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold certification.
SCA commenced development of the project in a climate of financial turmoil, during which loans for any real estate pursuit were incredibly hard to come by, not that such funding is now free flowing. Despite the unavoidable challenges, SCA managed to cull the necessary money from a handful of sources to bring Oberlin-East College Street to realization.
U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation was the equity investor behind a $5 million New Markets Tax Credit allocation made available by Enterprise Community Investment Inc. and a nearly $9.8 million NMTC allocation supplied by MBS Urban Initiatives CDE, an affiliate of McCormack Baron Salazar, a for-profit developer of economically integrated urban neighborhoods. Additionally Enterprise Community Investment provided $675,000 for predevelopment and acquisition activities through its Enterprise Community Loan Fund. SCA also obtained a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Special Project Grant, and $1.4 million in tax increment financing to address infrastructure improvements at the site. The developer was also able to attract private financing in the form of a contribution from a local philanthropist.