Officials celebrate completion of nation’s largest green renovation of affordable housing

Photograph by Alexis Barnes.

The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Shaun Donovan, is in Cincinnati today to celebrate the completion of the newly redeveloped housing project called the Villages at Roll Hill. The project, which was once known as Fay Apartments, is being heralded as the largest green renovation, affordable housing project in the country.

Developers Wallick-Hendy state that they intend to apply to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to obtain LEED certification on the project.

Redevelopment of the long-stalled neighborhood had begun in earnest in 2010 after years of setbacks and delays. As disclosed by UrbanCincy in 2010, developers were able to tap a variety of funding sources to get the project off the ground including a $32 million loan from HUD and a $3.2 grant from City HOME. The City of Cincinnati also granted an eight-year tax abatement on the renovated units.

The rehabilitation included the demolition of 17 buildings on site and reduced the number of housing units to 703. The upgrades also include landscaping, security, tree installation, a new playground and other improvements.

The Villages of Roll Hill is located along Baltimore Avenue on the west side of Cincinnati. The housing development debuted in 1962 as a promising new city neighborhood with over 1,025 market rate apartments. The development was owned and operated by HUD but was bought by the City in 1982.

By 1986, the City sold the struggling development to Stern-Hendy due to promises to invest millions in rehabilitating and repairing the complex. By 2005, however, there were only 112 market rate apartments left, 650 were rented to Housing Choice Voucher recipients (Section 8) and 128 were rehabilitative housing operated by Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA).