Affordable housing developments in the works for Kodiak

Plans for the Mill Bay AHFC development.

The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has two projects in the works in Kodiak. Daniel Delfino is the director of planning and program development at the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation.

“Both of those properties, the first one, Mill Bay in 2017, and then Spruce Cape in 2018, went through a statewide competition and they were both ranked number one in each year,” said Delfino.

The first project is situated on Mill Bay road between a coffee stand and a retail area. While the second one is near Spruce Cape. Delfino says developers, John McGrew and Glenn Gellert, won a statewide competition to qualify for development funding from AHFC.

Their project proposals stood out, he says, for several reasons: low cost, set-aside units for renters with disabilities, units for a mixture of incomes. And energy efficiency.

“It was off the charts in terms of energy efficiency and the commitments that they made.” said Delfino. “It is meeting a pretty aggressive energy standard under our state building and energy efficiency standards. And then it is incorporating, I believe both phases are incorporating, the solar thermal, which powers the hot water. And then those solar panels that you are probably seeing in the first phase are generating electricity for the units.”

The developments are funded through AHFC’s Affordable Living Program, which is a one-stop shop for resources to help builders develop low-income or senior housing throughout Alaska.

They will be townhouse style units, with garages on the bottom, living and kitchen space on the second floor, and bedrooms on the top floor. They’re all 5-star plus energy rated. Each unit has a garage. Outside, communal playgrounds and picnic areas are planned. Pets will be accepted, with a deposit.

McGrew and Gellert, through various partnerships, have built more affordable housing than any other developers in the state. McGrew says that the majority of new apartments being built in the U.S. are paid for through alternative funding sources, such as those through AHFC.

“I would say probably 80 percent of all the new apartments being built, are with this type of funding,” said McGrew. “The cost of development and the cost of building apartments is so high, that it is very rare that you can make them pencil just with conventional financing.”

Besides the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Rasmuson Foundation, and W-N-C are funders of the Kodiak units, and the developments are also the beneficiaries of federal tax credits.

McGrew, adds that this style of housing is usually tremendously received, throughout the state.

“This project for example, we are getting ready to put it available or rent probably around September 1. We haven’t really marketed it much yet. And they are already, the ones that we are making available, we’ve already leased them and there’s a waiting list for the remaining units,” said McGrew.

McGrew and Gellert have built similar projects through partnerships with AHFC in Juneau, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Wasilla, and Girdwood.

Interested renters can get on the waiting list by contacting Brandon West, who currently manages Fir Terrace apartments in Kodiak, across from Safeway.

There are 20 units at the Mill Bay site, with two and three bedrooms.

The Mill Bay units come available towards the end of the summer. The Spruce Cape project is still in the beginning stages. It is comprised of 30 similar units and should be complete in fall 2019.


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