WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Chair Sara C. Bronin and U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman today presented The Appleton at Spring Flats in Washington, D.C., and Commodore Place Apartments in Cleveland, Ohio, with the 2022 and 2023 ACHP/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, respectively. The awards were presented during a ceremony at HUD Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
This annual award recognizes a single project that has successfully advanced the goals of historic preservation, while at the same time provided affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families and individuals.
Leila Finucane, President and Chief Executive Officer of Victory Housing, accepted the award on behalf of The Appleton at Spring Flats; and Patricia Belden, Executive Vice President of The Community Builders, accepted on behalf of Commodore Place Apartments.
“We applaud the partners behind these two projects, who have illuminated the vital role of historic preservation in ensuring more sustainable, equitable communities and in tackling the affordable housing crisis,” Bronin said. “Across all levels of government, we must commit to making it easier to convert and rehabilitate more older buildings for housing.”
HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge agreed that historic preservation is key.
“Preservation is critical to community health and our work to expand the supply of housing across the country,” she said. “Everyone deserves to live in a community they feel connected to. Preserving pre-existing homes is one way to ensure families of all incomes, particularly people with low incomes, can access housing of their choice.”
The building now housing The Appleton at Spring Flats was constructed as the Hebrew Home for the Aged in Washington, D.C., in 1925 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After being abandoned in 2009, the development team of Victory Housing, Brinshore Development LLC, and Banc of America CDC in 2020 acquired the site via a ground lease from the District of Columbia. The plan for The Appleton at Spring Flats included restoration of the building’s exterior and a full interior rehabilitation to 88 affordable age-restricted apartments, including 14 units for those who experienced homelessness.
With the help of the design team at Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners and general contractor Hamel Builders, the development team successfully preserved the character of the historic and culturally significant building. They retained ornamental Star of David windows, exterior brick, terra cotta bas relief, and two original cornerstones. Completed in December 2021, The Appleton at Spring Flats surpassed all energy and sustainability requirements, achieving a LEED Gold certification.
The large site presented opportunities to develop complementary new infill construction. The Robeson, a newly constructed mixed-income multifamily building with 87 units, and The Rows, 10 mixed-income townhomes for sale, were designed to complement the historic building. Between The Appleton, The Robeson, and The Rows at Spring Flats, the approximately $78 million project created a total of 185 residential units, 80 percent affordable to seniors and families.
“We are honored to receive the ACHP/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation on behalf of the entire team,” Finucane said. “Spring Flats, a public-private partnership with the District of Columbia to redevelop a 3.3 acre site, included this endeavor to restore the historic but long vacant Hebrew Home for the Aged into The Appleton, an affordable senior community. Revitalizing this once-cherished community asset while fulfilling our mission to provide affordable senior housing has been a labor of love for Victory Housing, Brinshore, Banc of America CDC, Wiencek + Associates Architects + Planners, and Hamel Builders, and we have appreciated the support and input of the neighborhood community and all of our other partners along the way.”
Commodore Place Apartments began in 1924 as a hotel in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland. It was converted to apartments in 1964, with residents that included professionals, musicians, and Cleveland Browns football players. Because of its prime location near museums, universities, hospitals, parks, restaurants, and mass transit, along with its architectural quality, Commodore Place was at risk of conversion to market rate apartments and displacement of most of its residents, who relied on the building’s affordability.
Working within the City of Cleveland’s plan for community revitalization, The Community Builders purchased the building in 2015 for $8.7 million with a mission to ensure affordability, healthy living, and access to vital services for residents. Other partners included Sullebarger Associates 2023 and City Architecture.
The redevelopment of the historic high-rise building comprised 198 residential units, including the preservation of 144 affordable units and an additional 54 market-rate units. The building, clad with red brick and accented with stone, retained its distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques that characterize the property in the Tudor Revival style. The restoration retained the original corridor layout on the upper floors.
Completed in October 2021, the Commodore Place Apartment project was funded through federal low-income housing tax credit and historic tax credit equity provided by Key Bank, a HUD 221(d)4 mortgage, a City of Cleveland HOME loan, and sponsor loans.
“As an anchor in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood, Commodore Place preserves housing affordability for almost 200 families, near transit and grocery stores,” Belden said. “On behalf of The Community Builders, I extend my deepest thanks to Secretary Fudge and Chair Bronin for their stewardship, and the many partners and leaders who made this preservation possible, including the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the City of Cleveland, Key Bank and, most especially, the residents of Commodore Place.”
The rehabilitation of both The Appleton and Commodore Place Apartments complied with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Properties. Both properties also received federal funding triggering a review process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, which resulted in a finding that the rehabilitations would have no adverse effect on the historic properties.
About the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.
About the ACHP: An independent federal agency, the ACHP promotes the economic, educational, environmental, sustainability, and cultural values of historic preservation and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. It also influences federal activities, programs, and policies that affect historic and cultural properties. See www.achp.gov for more information.