November 21, 2014

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Green projects proposed for Green Acres land

The former Green Acres orphanage in Oberlin is torn down in 2012. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

The former Green Acres orphanage in Oberlin is torn down in 2012. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

OBERLIN — Three proposals for energy-efficient housing developments are being considered by city officials whose goal is to develop the 15-acre former Green Acres orphanage site.

Gary Boyle, director of planning and development for the city, said a decision will likely be made next month. Three firms were interviewed in early December regarding their proposals.

Among the proposals is an energy-efficient senior citizen housing complex in a park-like setting. The proposal was made by NRP Group, which provides affordable housing to residents in Ohio and other states.

The design includes 48 one- and two-bedroom units in a duplex design with attached garages, covered front and rear porches, a five-acre park and community clubhouse.

NRP Group recently completed Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Oberlin Homes development, which revitalized the pagoda-style homes to modern and green-designed residences, according to the proposal.

Northshore Properties, in partnership with Solutions and Sustainability LLC, also requested to meet with city officials to discuss a “climate-positive” neighborhood development. According to the proposal, it would be the first climate-positive residential neighborhood development in the U.S.

The company proposed offering gardening plots for residents; high-performance homes that offer solar energy, ground-source electric heat pumps, high-efficiency water systems and walking paths.

Northshore Properties, founded in 1985, is a real estate investment and development company in Oberlin, which had a role in the development of Oberlin Commons. Solutions and Sustainability provides leadership, management and planning for large-scale, long-term sustainable development projects.

Community Builders Inc., with partners Moody Nolan and Ozanne Construction, proposed three site plans to develop the Green Acres property.

Each design includes the construction of approximately 50 units of mixed-income housing arranged in townhouses and stacked flats. Some of the proposed amenities include covered and surface parking, a new park with passive recreation areas, semi-public courtyards and new linkages for non-vehicular transportation, according to the proposal.

The proposal includes a plan to maximize energy efficiency to lower energy costs to the renter.

Community Builders is a leading nonprofit developer of mixed-income housing in the U.S., with affordable and mixed-income housing units in 14 states and Washington, D.C.

Boyle said costs associated with each proposal, along with the specifics, are open to negotiation.

“Their presentations indicated some amount of flexibility,” he said.

Green Acres, which served as the county’s orphanage from 1900 to 1995, was demolished by the city in September 2012 after it was purchased from the county for $265,000.

Nearby residents were polled, and the majority of them wanted to see park land on at least some of the property, according to poll results.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.