Model green development breaks ground in Ohio

Back in 2005 we featured Ben, Naomi and Josh, founders of the next generation real estate development firm, Sustainable Community Associates (SCA) in this article, Developing a community for their peers, whereas their peers were recent college graduates. At the time they were in the planning stages of a mixed-use green development, which in fact was profiled by Ben on this site as far back as 2004 in A CoolTown block in Ohio.

Well, here’s a message from Josh with some rather exciting news:

“I thought i would drop you a quick update and let you know that after years of twists and turns we are finally under construction. We’ve updated our website with photos, videos and information on LEED ND, etc. I thought you’d like to read about a success story – especially one that managed to close its loans (with a smaller community bank) in the midst of economic difficulties.”

Here’s a short Q&A regarding the 2.3 acre development, with 33 residential units ranging from 1-3 bedrooms (including 4 live-work units), 20,000 s.f. of retail and office space for rent and for sale:

What has been the biggest surprise?
“Just how complicated and time consuming it can be to put together a multi-party multi layer financed mixed use mixed income housing and retail project — that’s a mouthful but the obstacles to quality, sustainable and economically integrated development are staggering. Thankfully we built a terrific team ranging from a community bank to Oberlin College to new market tax credit providers to philanthropists. They all shared our commitment to sustainability and small town renewal and helped us navigate the process.”

Most significant challenge?
“Finding the patience to wade through all of the above with our souls intact.”

What is Sustainable Community Associates’ hope for the project?
“On a local level this project begins to change the economics of Downtown Oberlin and others begin to see the opportunities and invest in Oberlin. On a larger level I hope this project serves as a model for how small towns and main street communities can go about preserving their downtown in responsible and sustainable ways.”

  • Catbus

    Oberlin: the third-coolest small town in Ohio.