George Gekakis Breaks Ground on Sin City Affordable Senior Housing

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorLas Vegas—Real estate development firm George Gekakis Inc. (GGI) and Silver State Housing,  GGI’s nonprofit sponsor, have broken ground on McKnight Senior Village II, the second phase of a 187-unit affordable rental housing development for seniors 55 and older. “The project is located near downtown Las Vegas and is helping to revitalize the area and bring more affordable housing to our Las Vegas Valley. It is a priority in Southern Nevada, and we had made a commitment to that effort,” says Marina Adamy of George Gekakis Inc. “With the nation’s general population aging, and with more and more seniors moving to warmer climates, Las Vegas represents an ideal environment for senior housing.”The $14,398,000 tax credit project received unanimous support of City Las Vegas Planning Commission and City Council. “The project is financed with low-income housing tax credits and HOME Funds from the City of Las Vegas and Clark County. Though funding is available for qualifying projects each year, it is an extremely competitive process, with stringent requirements for the developer to meet, not only during construction, but over the life of the project—a commitment that can be up to 50 years,” Adamy tells MHN.The four-story building will feature 77 two-bedroom units on a 2.14-acre site adjacent to the original development, which was built in 1987 and is composed of one-bedroom residences. Designed by KKE Architects, the Energy Star-rated development includes high-rated insulation, tankless water heaters, low- and no-VOC materials, a solar-heated pool and xeriscape desert landscaping.The 978-sq.-ft. residences feature patios with storage closets, washer/dryer hook-ups, and hook-ups for satellite TV and internet access. The project will also have handicap-accessible and adaptable units.McKnight Senior Village II will also include a 7,000-sq.-ft. recreational clubhouse that, in addition to the pool will include a full kitchen, media room/library, health room, billiards room, craft room, fitness center, spa and covered parking. Silver State Housing will provide “guidance regarding senior development and will help administer the supportive services we offer our residents, including health screenings, financial and employment counseling, food distribution, computer training and transportation,” explains Adamy.The second phase of the development is slated for completion in 2010, and the team is applying for tax credits this July for a third and final phase of 24 units.“Certainly the economic downturn has affected construction pricing, availability and delivery of materials, but we have a track record of producing successful senior housing over the course of 20 years, and we have made the commitment to develop and build. We have been successful in educating not only our area residents but our jurisdictions to the need and the quality that affordable housing can represent,” says Adamy of the effect that recession has had on affordable housing in Las Vegas.McKnight Senior Village II won the 2007 National Association of Home Builder’s  Best of  50+ Housing Silver Achievement Award for “On-the-Boards” Affordable Rental Category in 2007.