Sustainability and affordability will soon align for families in the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix.
March 17th marked the beginning of construction for Birdsong Phoenix, the first net zero-focused project for national development company Vecino Group, a company that specializes in development for the greater good. It’s also the first example of net-zero, multi-family affordable housing for Phoenix. “ADOH is a proud partner in the Birdsong project providing federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the development of much-needed affordable housing” said Sheree Bouchee, Programs Administrator at ADOH.
The development—located at 6626 West McDowell Road—will deliver 72 affordable homes geared toward couples and families with children. Like all Vecino Group developments, Birdsong Phoenix was created to serve its community, set an example and give back—the latter two being where Birdsong really steps up for Phoenix. “The Vecino Group has a record of providing opportunity and support through our developments—our “why”. But for Birdsong, “how” took on even more importance” said Karl Niederer, Vecino Group Development Director. “A building that will intuitively conserve resources is not only beneficial for residents—it’s imperative for our collective future.”
The new $28 million community will consist of 12 two-story townhome style buildings providing 48 three-bedroom units and 24 four-bedroom units. 54 units will offer affordable rents set at 40%, 50% and 60% average median gross income (AMGI). The remaining 18 will be market rate apartments. Birdsong amenities will include a clubhouse, a pool, playgrounds, covered parking and on-site management & maintenance. Its net-zero elements include fully electrified buildings (heating, cooling, water heating, washer & dryer), xeriscaped property (for low water use), and photovoltaic panels on rooftops to offset electric usage. Each residential building will exceed the energy efficiency standards by reducing electric and water usage.
Though pursuing net-zero building at this scale is relatively new, Vecino and its partners believe it will become the standard. “It does pose some challenges and require additional coordination between teams,” said Senior Project Manager Kathleen McFadden of Vecino Construction, ”but these are small when compared to the benefit provided to the residents, community and environment.” The first building of Birdsong is scheduled to be ready for residents by late Spring 2023 with general construction complete in early Fall later that year.
Birdsong Phoenix was made possible through an allocation of 9% federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Arizona Department of Housing and solar investment tax credits. An equity investment from Boston Financial Investment Management/J.P. Morgan Chase and construction/permanent financing through Citi Community Capital and Freddie Mac.
“The climate of Phoenix—as a desert city whose resources are of utmost importance—helped to guide our development, design and construction teams toward the most impactful solutions,” said Niederer, “as did the community. We’re thankful to the city and all of our partnerships that helped define the path for Birdsong. Energy concsious homes are a win-win for everyone, and we’re excited to help make this a reality.”