June 13, 2011

Contact: Sherry Tyler, 206.832.1306, sherry.tyler@vitusgroup.com


Vitus Group, a Seattle-based developer and owner of affordable housing nationwide, announced the completion of construction of Northwood Place, a new $9.4 million affordable rental apartment community located just two miles west of the Sun Valley Lodge luxury ski resort.

Northwood Placeis the first Low Income Housing Tax Credit project within Ketchum/Sun Valley.  The new housing is expected to attract and retain a residential population that works in the immediate region and has a desire to live in Ketchum, helping to reverse a decades-long trend of population decline in the city.

Stephen Whyte, Managing Director of Vitus Group, said, “Unlike other resort towns with an adequate supply of local affordable housing, Ketchum evolved into an exclusive affluent community supported by a tourism economy.  Its population decreased as the cost of living outpaced wages for service industry jobs available by some of the major employers in the area.

“Fortunately, local government and community development officials committed themselves in recent years to stem the tide of economic displacement in Sun Valley.”

Northwood Placeis a tangible result of that commitment. The 32-unit development is a joint venture of Vitus Development (formerly Allied Pacific Development) and the local Ketchum Community Development Corporation.  Northwood Place is rent and income restricted for households with incomes equal to or less than 60% of the area median income (AMI), subject to a regulatory agreement with a term of 44 years.

Designed by local architect Dale Bates, Northwood Place incorporates many of the principles of the “new urbanism” with five separate buildings organized around a linear courtyard with a community terrace and raised planting beds.  The design is contemporary, with a regional “ski country” vernacular that includes rich colors that punctuate the landscape design. There is also a large indoor community room with a kitchen for resident functions.

Financing for Northwood Place was originally intended to come from a federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit award administered by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA), and further benefited from Blaine County’s 2008 designation as a Difficult to Develop Area, or DDA. 

However the tax credit market significantly weakened in 2008/2009, rendering Northwood Place as financially infeasible to develop as planned.  In order to allow the project to proceed, the tax credit award was exchanged by the State of Idaho with the U.S. Treasury for approximately $7.5 million in stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  A regional affordable housing lender provided a permanent loan for the remaining financing.


A Model for Green Development

Consistent with Vitus Group’s national commitment to sustainability and environmentally sensitive design, Northwood Place is a model for green development.  A pre-fabricated wall panel system, SIP’s (Structural Insulated Panels), maximizes the energy efficiency of the building envelope by as much as 30%.  Drought tolerant landscaping designed by Native Landscape Architects, a leader in regional landscape design, reduces water usage.

A site-specific geothermal heat exchange system generates energy for snow melt.  A significant benefit of the geothermal system is that Northwood Place does not have vacant land typically set aside as dumping areas for snow removal.  Geothermal energy melts snow in the on-site parking zones and the “re-claimed” land is now additional living space.

In addition, a sizable solar photovoltaic installation offsets much of the common area electrical consumption.       

With offices in Seattle, New York, Hawaii and San Diego, Vitus Group has developed and owns more than 5,000 residential units at more than 60 properties in 13 states.  Vitus actively develops properties nationwide. Vitus also serves as a lead consultant to developer clients who seek the best solutions in planning affordable housing projects, often working with partners in both the public and private sectors.  For more information on Vitus see www.vitusgroup.com.