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USDA Funded Apartment Complex Not Just "Renovated" but "Innovated"

Posted by Dianna Jennings, Special Projects Director, USDA Rural Development, Arizona in Rural
Jan 30, 2014
A newly renovated senior housing facility in Arizona, funded in part by USDA Rural Development. (Photo used with permission)
A newly renovated senior housing facility in Arizona, funded in part by USDA Rural Development. (Photo used with permission)

Aesthetically the change is obvious and pleasing, but what hides inside the walls and under the ground is what is making the big difference at Kachina Apartments in Casa Grande, Arizona.

The 96-unit senior complex recently underwent a major rehabilitation that not only renovated the individual units but took dramatic steps to reduce water usage and the carbon footprint as well.

The rehabilitation project was a joint effort using low-income housing tax credits, State Housing Funds (HOME), and USDA Rural Development’s multi-family housing program. General contractors for the project were Precision General Commercial Contractors, Inc.

USDA Rural Development and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also provide rental assistance for 84 of the 96 units, making the property affordable for low-income senior households.

As part of the rehabilitation of the complex, owners Dawson Holdings, Inc. installed a 20,400 gallon water reclamation system that harvests water runoff from the 21,000 sq. ft. parking lot and stores it in tanks buried under the new xeroscaped property. “The xeroscaping itself saves an additional 1.25 million gallons,” said John Hartwick, VP of Operations for the company... and water is just the beginning of the savings and amenities making Kachina one of the state’s most innovative complexes.

Solar panels, 148 of them, line roof tops and can generate over 31kW of electricity. That is enough to cut the common area electricity usage—community room, laundry, outdoor spaces—in half.

USDA Rural Development State Director Alan Stephens noted that besides the state-of-the-art water and electric renovations, Kachina now has a dedicated office space for the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens right within the Kachina community room.

“The low water and electric usage renovations really are cutting edge,” said Stephens, “but I’m also very impressed with the addition of raised garden beds where tenants can grow their own fresh food,” he added. Stephens said that USDA is focused on how rural folks can get healthy food choices as close to home as possible.

Category/Topic: Rural