On July, 30, 2013 Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, St. Vincent de Paul executives, and project partners celebrated the opening of an innovative affordable housing project. Stellar Apartments provides 54 units of affordable, new rental housing to families, individuals, seniors, and veterans earning at or below 50% of the Area Median Income based on their family size. The site was part of the City’s Landbanking for Affordable Housing Program. The development includes 4 units specifically for VetLIFT (Veterans Living Independently Following Treatment) clients with families and ten more units for National Guard families, either currently serving or those that have completed combat deployment.
Stellar Apartments is the first affordable housing development in Oregon to include a building built to the Passive House design standard. The Passive House design employs innovative construction techniques to achieve “stellar” energy efficiency. The entire development has been designed to achieve Earth Advantage certification, which includes energy efficient design and equipment, nontoxic building materials and finishes, and sustainable landscape design. These features will lower residents’ utility costs and add to its affordability. As part of a pilot program, the Stellar Apartments will provide an opportunity to compare the performance and benefits of Earth Advantage to Passive House standards, and will further the goals of the City’s Community Climate and Energy Action Plan and the Eugene-Springfield 2010 Consolidated Plan. This effort is a partnership between the City of Eugene, SVDP, Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), and Passive House consultants.
In addition to being granted the land, the new development was made possible by $850,000 in federal HOME funds, $256,300 from the City of Eugene in system development charge exemptions and $54,000 in EWEB grant funds.
Through the Landbanking for Affordable Housing Program (Landbank), the City of Eugene acquires land suitable for the future development of housing that is affordable to low-income persons. Using the Landbank, the City has created a steady stream of affordable housing sites throughout the community. The projects are indistinguishable from market rate developments and are often admired for their high-quality appearance, construction, and management. The Landbanking Program is a cornerstone of Eugene’s overall affordable housing program.