Standard Communities Partners with Tenant Association to Renovate Fort Chaplin Park Apartments
Standard Communities, a Better Buildings partner and affordable housing investor and developer, takes a holistic approach to integrating sustainable practices into every deal. One of their most innovative renovation projects, Fort Chaplin Park Apartments, was brought about by a tenant association empowered to preserve the property’s affordability. Residents of Fort Chaplin, a 549-unit apartment community made up of 45 buildings, formed a tenant association and selected Standard Communities as their development partner. The project resulted in the largest tax-exempt bond and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) financed affordable housing transaction in D.C. history. Not only did Standard Communities preserve and expand the property’s affordability, but they completed a retrofit that equipped Fort Chaplin with the largest community solar array in Washington, D.C.
Before Standard Communities acquired the property, Fort Chaplin residents, under the District of Columbia’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (“TOPA”), organized and exercised the right to assume the purchase contract of any group that entered into a Purchase & Sale Agreement (PSA) to acquire the property. The former owner entered into a PSA with a buyer who had no plans to invest significantly in the property or preserve any affordable housing units for the long term. Residents formed a tenant association and issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a development partner to acquire and renovate the property. Standard Communities was selected and secured project financing through Senior Tax-Exempt debt and equity raised from a syndication of 4% LIHTC credits and the General Partner. The debt was a Tax-Exempt “Back-to-Back” Construction-to-Permanent loan made by Citibank (Citi Community Capital) to the D.C. Housing Finance Agency (DCHFA). The 4% LIHTC Syndication was completed by Alliant Capital. No public funds were used to complete the transaction, making this a true public-private partnership.
The $33 million renovation included the addition of a 1.28 MW solar photovoltaic system, which generates more than 1.5 million kWh of energy each year. The solar array provides Fort Chaplin residents with affordable renewable energy that saves them approximately $500 a year, equating to over $2 million in energy savings over the life of the system.
The project included significant sustainability features, including new programmable thermostats, a green roof, high efficiency insulated vinyl windows, and HVAC split systems with a SEER rating of 15.75. Standard Communities also constructed a new LEED Silver 15,000 square-foot community center on the property.
Under Washington, D.C.’s Solar for All program, Standard Communities partnered with SaveSolar and New Columbia Solar to equip Fort Chaplin Park Apartments with a 100% renewable solar energy system. D.C.’s Solar for All program, run by the Washington D.C. Department of Energy and Environment, covered all of the project’s upfront costs.