A Background on Affordable Housing
By 2050, the population of individuals who are 65 and older in the United States is projected to double, growing faster than any other age group. As seniors age, their risk of having chronic diseases or functional limitations increases. According to LeadingAge, these risks are higher among members of minority groups, who are expected to make up 42 percent of the senior population in 2050.
Powered by the ProforMap’s data-driven approach, Novin Development is helping advance senior affordable housing by finding sites suitable for affordable senior housing
development. Sites like 603 A Street in Hayward are ideal for Senior Affordable Housing because it is directly adjacent to high quality transit (downtown Hayward BART and
bus), the site is served by a bus route that connects the project site to senior services (Hayward Area Senior Services 0.75 miles away) and there are a number of amenities
that senior residents will benefit from within walking distance including the Hayward Public Library (0.33 miles), Pharmacy (0.45 miles), Public Park (0.5 miles), Grocery Store (0.6 miles).
The ProforMap opportunity site selection algorithm that identified this site as a good fit for Senior Affordable Housing also looked at the Hayward General Plan land use designation that allows high density multi-family by right, Priority Development Areas, Zoning, 9% TCAC amenity scoring, DDA/QCT, Improvement %, Lot Size, Density,
Senior Center Proximity, Bus Service Quality, Library Proximity, Walkability to Amenities, Transit Service Quality, Proximity to Grocery,
and Proximity to Pharmacy.
After tying up the opportunity, Novin Development partnered with Christian Church Homes, a national developer of Affordable Senior Housing who’s mission is providing affordable quality housing in caring communities where seniors can live and thrive in the comfort of their own homes is better for communities as a whole.
The development has received a $7.4M Transit-Oriented Development funding award from the CA Department of Housing & Community Development to support the development of affordable housing near transit.
Novin Development Corp. is an affordable housing developer based in Walnut Creek, CA that is looking to make a dent in the housing crisis in North America. Whether they are acting as the broker, consultant or in a JV; their goal is typically the same: to find sites that are well-suited for affordable housing; not just for the eventual tenants themselves & the sustainability of cities, but to also compete for a finite amount of affordable housing funding.
Applying for and securing affordable housing subsidies is an extremely competitive process through the United Studies. The ultimate winners must address the quality of sites, especially with regards to proximity to:
- Proximity to High Quality Transit (i.e. BART)
- Senior’s centers
- Walkability & community
The proposal must also assess the site’s readiness for construction including:
- Is the land owner ready to move forward with a deal
- Does the proposed plan meet zoning requirements
Rather than trying to shoehorn an existing site into the advanced criteria for affordable housing subsidies, Novin Development Corp decided to take a more intentional & tech-driven approach.
ProforMap is a proprietary software developed by Novin Development Corp (is in testing with Pilot customers and will be released to the public later this year) that acts as a natural extension of their brokerage arm. It streamlines the site acquisition process for affordable housing, harnessing GIS data and using TestFit for validating building design vs the financial metrics, followed by integrated iterative pro forma analysis.
Steps to Securing the Right Site & Funding for Affordable Housing:
- Input all critical affordable housing criteria into ProforMap for GIS analysis and layering, with a strongemphasis on zoning & proximity to transit, focused on Hayward’s BART stations to find possible sites.
- Identified 30+ sites for senior affordable housing.
- Used TestFit to confirm unit yields (had to be over 50 units), parking and type of building. Ultimately TestFit led to deciding on seniors’ housing with lower parking ratios and 1 bed units.
- Through ProforMap, Novin created a targeted acquisition campaign that sent letters to property owners with matched opportunity parcels.
- Physically visited the sites, for visual inspection, looking at adjacent uses etc.
- Based on the factors above combined with interested land sellers with reasonable price expectations, and higher ranking in pro forma’s algorithms with regard to affordable housing, filtered down to 5 sites.
- Further test fitted on those 5 sites to even more detail. This data drove Novin Development Corp to begin negotiations with the previous owners of 603 A Street
- Novin Development Corp. brought CCH Senior Housing, a nation wide developer of senior affordable housing. CCH agreed the site met all the right affordable housing criteria for Senior Housing, and worked with Novin to close the acquisition earlier this year.
- For initial estimates, there’s a database of construction costs in affordable housing deals that were cross-referenced with the TestFit building square footage takeoffs for the initial acquisition stage. Once the teams were further along in the acquisition process / site control, they brought on an architect and contractor to validate pricing, and give a detailed estimate.
- Novin Development Corp. was able to feed the architect the results of that TestFit early to really guide their initial work, rather than running concepts in proforma and lots of design iteration back and forth. They knew what worked unit-wise on the site, and could design in further detail. As soon as the site was under contract, the team went straight into design work allowing it to demonstrate project readiness and compete for State funding ahead much faster.
- City of Hayward was happy with the plans quite quickly based on the clear housing and TOD objectives. The site met policy goals and was well designed.
- Team was able to apply quickly for State Transit-Oriented Development or TOD funding from California.
What Made this Site so Appealing?
- Less than a quarter mile to Hayward BART station
- Already zoned in the general plan for high density through general plan land use layer
- Scored for 9% tax credits (met the amenity points). Close to a seniors center, grocery store, public park, library, pharmacy etc.
- Allowed the height and units counts the team was looking at (had to be over 50 units)
The technology helped Novin move much more quickly than traditional affordable housing.
- Novin Development and CCH closed on 603 A Street in Hayward, to deliver 80 new units of Senior Affordable Housing directly adjacent to the
Downtown Hayward BART Station.
- The California Department of Housing & Community Development awarded the project $7.4M in TOD funding making the development possible.
- Site plan to funding in 2 months instead of 6-8 months.
- Allowed architecture team to move quicker from the onset. The architects appreciated that they could see the project vision from the get-go and jump straight into conceptual work.
TestFit’s Design Iteration for Understand Cost Implications
TestFit allowed the Novin Development Corp team to easily compare cost vs rent in multiple design schemes quickly.
- Originally the team was looking at mostly studios, then based on TestFit design information, net rentable data, and hard lumber costs, decided it made more sense to go one bed for seniors.
- Parking on this site was very tight and challenging. With TestFit, the team was able to look at different scenarios in real-time to confirm ability to meet those regulations. By pivoting to senior affordable housing, the deal could work with the reduced parking requirements.
- Gave accurate takeoffs: not only the unit count and unit mix, total sq footage residential, concrete, number of parking spaces, building efficiency, but also detailed metrics they needed to build out an accurate hard cost estimate.
- Plug TestFit results straight into the pro forma.
- Have a workable design to show city planning officials, investors and more.