Eco Friendly Garden-Style Apartments Open for Low-Income Families

By Matthew Marin, Associate Editor  Yakima, Wash.–An environmentally friendly and affordable garden-style apartment complex for individuals and families earning 50 percent or less of the area median income recently opened in Yakima, Wash. Next Step Housing, the largest owner and operator of service-enriched, special needs housing in Eastern Washington; the Office of Rural and Farm Worker Housing; Enterprise Community Investment; Washington State Housing Trust Fund; and other development partners participated in the construction of Pear Tree Place, which comprises 26 units for successfully recovering substance abusers, homeless people and adults with developmental disabilities. The first tenants, including families with children, have already moved in. Pear Tree Place is located less than two miles from downtown Yakima and serves individuals and families living with special needs. About 20 of the units have been pre-leased at monthly rates ranging from $245 for a one-bedroom apartment to $595 for a three-bedroom unit.  Development costs for Pear Tree Place totaled $4.8 million, with a $2.7-million, low-income housing tax credit equity investment from Enterprise Community Investment. The project was financed by a combination of state and local housing grants and federal tax credits sold to private investors.  “Pear Tree Place is one of six alcohol and drug free communities in Yakima that Next Step Housing has developed,” John Mifsud, executive director of Next Step Housing, a Yakima-based nonprofit corporation, tells MHN. “Pear Tree Place is also the first green building in Yakima.”Meeting the criteria of Enterprise Communities Green Community, both in design and materials, Pear Tree Place feature Energy Star-rated appliances, low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, laminate flooring, laminate countertops, recycled wood cabinetry and water conserving faucets.