Building More Than Buildings

12 min read

NH&RA Announces 2015 Timmy Award Nominees

While what they literally built may have varied, each finalist for the 2015 J. Timothy Anderson Awards for Historic Preservation built a bridge. They built a bridge between what communities had and what they needed. In some cases, it was the bridge between yesterday’s industrial heyday and today’s housing shortage. In others, it was the bridge between a school with no students and seniors with no services. There are hundreds of examples of innovative, resourceful historic rehabilitation. Each year, the “Timmy” Awards recognize the real estate developments that rise above the rest.

Four judges selected this year’s awards finalists from a pool of 32 applicants, carefully considering the projects’ overall design, construction, sustainability, market success, and community impact. The winners of the 11th Annual Timmy Awards will be announced at a luncheon on Monday, November 2, before the NH&RA 2015 Fall Forum commences, in Boston, MA. The awards competition is sponsored by the National Trust Community Investment Corporation, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Best Historic Rehab
Utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits
Large (Development cost higher than $10 million)

Cottage Square Apartments
With the button factory he opened in the mid-1800s, entrepreneur Samuel Williston transformed Lowell, MA, from an agricultural community to a major manufacturing center. Over the next century, the industrial complex grew, changing hands several times until 2005, when Easthampton Dye Works closed and left the west portion empty. Juggling complicating building codes and approval processes, Arch Street Development transformed 11 mill buildings into 50 units of affordable housing, including eight project-based Section 8 units and a large portion of two-bedroom units to meet the needs of area families. Preserving the wood ceilings and exposed beams and brick that harken back to the building’s original purpose, the developers added modern features, like an elevator, to ensure the property is ADA-compliant. The $18.9 million project leveraged federal and state Low-Income Housing and Historic Tax Credits, Affordable Housing Trust Funds from MassHousing, Housing Stabilization Funds from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, local Community Preservation Act funds, and a permanent loan from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership. Cottage Square Apartments is the first project in a larger effort to provide affordable housing to the city’s downtown district.
Architect: Kuhn Riddle Architects Historic Consultant: MacRostie Historic Advisors

DePaul Carriage Factory
The Cunningham Carriage Factory spent the early 20th century moving people around, from carriages to ambulances to airplanes. Today, it provides 71 homes in Rochester, New York. Working with the New York Office of Mental Health, DePaul ensured 39 of these homes are uniquely designed for those with special needs, while the other 32 units are designed for individuals and families who earn less than 50% of the area median income. Financing for this $23 million project included federal and state Historic Tax Credits, a local historic tax incentive, federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, New York State Housing Trust Funds, an award from the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council, a $600,000 loan from the city’s HOME program, and a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement. Residents with special needs receive ongoing support from DePaul Community Services, Inc. DePaul Carriage Factory leased out within 30 days of opening.
Architect: SWBR Architects
Historic Consultant: Preservation Studios

Dillon House, Topeka, Kansas
In 1910, Hiram Price Dillon traded his house, plus cash, to purchase land at the corner of Harrison and 9th Streets in Topeka, KS, and built a home where he and his wife could entertain. Enduring threats of demolition and changes in ownership over the century that followed, parties at Dillon House continue today thanks to a $5.5 million rehabilitation that returned the space to its historic glory. After securing ownership in 2013, Pioneer Group, Inc. leveraged $1.6 million in federal and state Historic Tax Credit equity, a property tax rebate through the county’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program, and other financing sources to create a space to house its offices on the upper floors and an event place on the first floor. The design team wove modern amenities into the historic features of the space, which is adjacent to the Kansas State Capitol. Since opening to the public on March 7, Dillon House has already hosted more than 3,000 guests.
Historic Consultant: Spencer Preservation
Architect: Treanor Architects

El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109
Twenty years ago, Public School No. 109 was set to be dismantled and demolished. The New York City neighborhood, known as both “Spanish Harlem” and “El Barrio,” sprung into action, launching a campaign to earn the century-old public school building a place on the National Register of Historic Places. After it continued to sit empty, subject to years of vandalism and decay, Artspace Projects, Inc. and El Barrio Operation Fightback teamed up to transform the building into a space where arts could thrive. The $53 million project created 89 affordable homes for local artists and 14,000 square feet of community space. In addition to preserving the property’s historic character, the development meets (and exceeds) Enterprise Green Communities standards. El Barrio Artspace PS 109 received 53,000 applications for 89 units.
Architect and Historic Consultant: HHL Architects

House of Lebanon
Once a vocational school for African America women, the Margaret Murray Washington School in Washington, DC, spent nearly a century teaching skills, like sewing, cooking, and nursing. After it closed in 2008, community leaders sought to transform the property into homes for local seniors who no longer wanted to be single-family homeowners, but did not want to leave the neighborhood.

Mission First Housing Group developed 82 housing units and created access to a wide range of services for residents, including health screenings and basic checkups, transportation, and social services. More than 20 residents attend classes each day that focus on wellness, exercise, and recreational activities. The mixed-income property offers 17 units for those making 30% of area median income, 61 units for those making 60%, and four market rate units. Mission First Housing Group financed the $23 million project using federal Historic Tax Credits, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME funds, and tax-exempt bonds.
Architect: Cunningham Quill
Historic Consultant: EHT Traceries

Best Market Rate or
Mixed Income Residential Finalists

Counting House Lofts
A floor scale that once weighed raw materials sits in the Counting House Lofts entry way as a reminder of the property’s past. The Counting House once served as the administrative center for the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, a textile mill in Lowell, MA, that operated from 1925 to 1926. Today, it’s a socio-economically diverse community that mixes 26 market rate units, 20 units for residents making 60% of the area’s median income, and six low-income rental assistance units. The property, which is Energy Star certified, features the restored and recreated versions of the same train bay doors, exposed wood, and steel columns that were built nearly two centuries ago. WinnCompanies leveraged federal and state Historic Tax Credits, federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and other state and local subsidies to finance the $35 million project, which already boasted a 100% absorption rate a month before it was placed in service.
Architect: The Architectural Team
Historic Consultant: Epsilon Associates

Infinite Chicago
The Steger Building and Gibbons Building on historic Music Row were once the tallest buildings in Chicago. Now they, along with Pickwick Stables between them, offer 124 units of market rate housing and retail to the revitalizing neighborhood. Developer CA Ventures and architect, Pappageorge Haymes Partners, rehabilitated the terra cotta and brick clad steel frame buildings, which were once known for displaying the most expensive retail frontage in the city. The team resolved access and exit issues by creating bridges between the Steger and Gibbons Buildings on the upper floors. They also decided to use an offsite district cooling utility, creating space for an outdoor terrace that maintains the property’s historic roofline. Financing for the $68 million project includes equity from federal Historic Tax Credits. The property boasts a 95% occupancy rate and has contributed to the rebirth of the city’s downtown district.
Historic Consultant: MacRostie Historic Advisors

First a vacation destination for Chicago tourists and later one of the largest nursing homes in the country, this lakefront property in Chicago had been a community fixture for nearly a decade. Zidan Management Group bought the building in 2011, and decided to peel back more recent alterations to reveal the property’s original historic character. The $24 million project, which leveraged federal Historic Tax Credits, transformed the property into 160 units of market rate housing. This historic rehabilitation is a key piece in the Argyle Streetscape Project, which aims to revitalize the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago.
Architect: FitzGerald Associates Architects
Historic Consultant: MacRostie Historic Advisors

Voke Lofts
Built in 1909, Worcester Vocational High School, or “The Voke,” was one of the first vocational institutions in the country. The three-story, red brick, Classical Revival style building earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The school closed in 2006 and the building, which included three additions, became available for redevelopment. Though the space presented a number of design and construction challenges, WinnCompanies adapted it into 84 homes for Worcester, MA, residents of multiple income levels. The $34 million project leveraged federal and state Historic Tax Credits, federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and tax-exempt bonds. Voke Lofts is 100% occupied, and serves as part of the city’s major revitalization efforts.
Architect: The Architectural Team
Historic Consultant: Epsilon Associates

Best Commercial/Retail/
Non-Residential Project Finalists

Hampton Inn – Chicago Motor Club Rehab
Throughout the early and mid-20th century, Chicagoans gathered in front of a 33-foot mural of the United States in the lobby of 68 E. Wacker Street to discuss the best routes to get away from the city. Today, most of us hold a digital concierge in the palm of our hands, but the map still lords over the lobby of that building, which is now itself a destination for out-of-towners. Developer Murphy Asset Management rehabilitated the old Chicago Motor Club into a Hampton Inn, blending relics of the past with a modern focus on sustainability that earned it a LEED certification. Murphy Asset Management leveraged a property tax incentive offered by Cook County that will result in reduced property taxes over 12 years, as well as federal Historic Tax Credits, to finance the $39 million project.
Architect: Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
Historic Consultant: MacRostie Historic Advisors

Virgin Hotel Chicago
As a contributing structure in a National Register historic district, this $65 million rehabilitation leveraged federal Historic Tax Credits to transform the Old Dearborn Bank Building into the first hotel to operate under the Virgin Hotels North America flag. The developer also took advantage of a Cook County property tax incentive that will reduce the property’s tax assessment level over 12 years. The property features 250 guestrooms, as well as a rooftop restaurant and outdoor terrace on the upper two levels. In addition to preserving and repairing historic features, The John Buck Company reinstated elements of the original design that had been stripped by subsequent rehabilitations. The bank’s original two-story banking hall had been obscured. The developer re-opened the space and restored the original decorative double-height ceiling, for patrons to enjoy in the bar and lounge below. The new hotel will create both jobs and tourism in Chicago’s Loop district.
Architect: Booth Hansen Architects
Historic Consultant: MacRostie Historic Advisors

Best Historic Rehab
Utilizing New Markets Tax Credits Winner

Cristo Rey Columbus High School
When Cristo Rey bought the former Ohio State School for the Deaf in downtown Columbus, the project was faced with years of deterioration and low-quality renovations that had obscured the property’s historic character. Cristo Rey not only sought to reverse the effects of renovations, but align the historic features they revived with the needs of a 21st century school. In addition to funding provided by the Diocese of Columbus, equity from both Historic and New Markets Tax Credits financed the $18 million renovation. The school’s students and staff can now enjoy the building’s refurbished, original hardwood floors and gymnasium. The building’s third floor features a new chapel and chemistry laboratory. Cristo Rey Columbus High School supports the larger Special Improvement District of which it is a part, and provides students with a state-of-the-art school and close proximity to the work-study jobs that help fund their tuition.
Historic Consultant: Benjamin D. Rickey & Co
Architect: Schooley Caldwell Associates

Best Historic Rehab Utilizing LIHTCs Finalists
Small (Under $10 million development cost)

New Center
Like many parts of Detroit, the New Center Historic District lost its affluent residents to the suburbs throughout the end of the 20th century, and became a high-crime area that many were hesitant to invest in. Kathy Makino-Leipsitz, co-owner of Shelborne Development, began purchasing buildings in the area with the vision of restoring this once-cosmopolitan neighborhood. Shelborne rehabilitated buildings on Seward Street and Delaware Street with the modern renter in mind, including high-end amenities that would transform the neighborhood into a desirable one. All 49 units are designated for families making between 30% and 60% of the area’s median income, including five project-based voucher units. The $8.7 million project was funded through federal Historic and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as City of Detroit Neighborhood Stabilization funds and a deferred developer fee.
Architect: EGI, Inc.
Historic Consultant: Kidorf Preservation Consulting

Seaway Lofts
Many of the 19th century industrial buildings that once overlooked Lake Ontario from the shoes of Oswego, NY, were removed as industry moved out of the area. The Brewery stayed, sitting vacant for a decade until Bentham Foundation and Sutton Real Estate Cos. purchased it. Leveraging federal Historic and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, the $17 million project became 26 one- and two-bedroom apartments for individuals and families making 50-60% of the area median income. Energy efficiency was a priority for the development, which includes photovoltaic panels on the roof that contribute 10% of the common area electricity needs. The property is a key part of many larger state- and city-wide efforts to revitalize the area.
Architect: MacKnight Architecture
Historic Consultant: Saralinda Hooker, Planning &
Development Consultant

Thom joined National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) in 2004 and currently serves as its as Executive Vice-President and Executive Director. NH&RA is a national trade association and peer-network for affordable housing and tax credit developers and related professionals including: investors, lenders, public agencies and professional advisers. Thom directs the association’s day-to-day operations including legislative and regulatory advocacy, committee activities, conferences and events, publications, financial management and strategic planning. Thom also serves as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Developers Council, a state-wide trade association for affordable housing developers and professionals active in Tennessee. In 2013 he spearheaded the launch of NH&RA's Preservation through Energy Efficiency Project, a major educational initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Thom also serves on the Board of Directors for International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology (iCAST) as well as the Advisory Board for its ResourceSmart program, a turn-key, cost-effective, green rehab provider for multifamily affordable and market-rate housing communities and nonprofit facilities. Thom is a frequent speaker at affordable housing, sustainable development and tax credit industry events and has been published in a variety of industry journals including Tax Credit Advisor, Independent Banker, and the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credit Housing. Thom also serves as the Associate Publisher of Tax Credit Advisor, a monthly magazine for tax credit and affordable housing professionals and is an Executive Vice-President at Dworbell Inc., a boutique association management and communications firm in Washington, DC. Thom was previously employed at a national lobbying firm focusing on financial services and technology issues. Prior to moving to Washington, Thom worked in media relations in the New York State Assembly and as a research assistant for New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Thom graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University with a double major in Political Science and History.