Woda Construction Inc. will oversee development of project
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Coverage Briefing


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Contact: Mike Nowlin

Cell: 989-450-0855

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority announces plan to move forward on construction of nearly $14 million McKinley Manor affordable housing complex for seniors

Woda Construction Inc. will oversee development of project that will house former downtown YMCA residents and is expected to be completed by fall 2023

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) announced today its plan to begin development of McKinley Manor, a $13.7 million, 44-unit affordable housing community that will exclusively serve low-income elderly citizens age 55 and over who are being relocated from the soon-to-be-decommissioned downtown YMCA of Central Ohio building.

YMCA of Central Ohio leaders have said the first step toward decommissioning and selling its historic building is finding safe, permanent homes for the residents at the 40 W. Long St. facility. The building – which opened in 1924 and is the largest YMCA resident facility in the United States – contains about 400 units of affordable housing for individuals needing support with their housing journey.

CMHA’s proposal for the new McKinley Manor community will help address the transition of 44 of those YMCA residents into their new homes.

“McKinley Manor will build on CMHA’s efforts to provide low-income seniors with more housing options in the area,” said CMHA President and CEO Charles Hillman. “Our team’s goal in serving this population is to enable the residents to age-in-place, while providing an atmosphere conducive to the highest quality of life.”

CMHA owns the land at the West Broad Street site where construction is tentatively scheduled to begin this fall in the fast-growing Franklinton neighborhood on the city’s west side. CMHA is partnering with Columbus-based Woda Construction Inc. (an affiliate of Woda Cooper Companies Inc.) as general contractor for the project that’s expected to be completed by fall 2023.

The nonprofit Community Shelter Board will oversee the relocation of the 44 residents from the old YMCA building to the new McKinley Manor facility that features permanent support services. The YMCA of Central Ohio had announced in 2019 that it would decommission its downtown Columbus branch but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the YMCA's plans.

The project will offer vouchers for all 44 units beginning in late summer 2023 so that eligible residents who qualify for housing assistance would only pay 30% of their income. If a would-be renter makes no money, the rent would be covered in full by CMHA.

Amenities onsite will include management offices, community rooms, and a health and wellness clinic. The entire project is designed and will be constructed to achieve and exceed LEED certification and City of Columbus AWARE environmental performance standards. Nearby amenities include a full-service grocer, Jubilee Market, a pharmacy, and the Mount Carmel Medical Group Franklinton. Residents will benefit from direct transit access to downtown Columbus via the COTA #10.

“We are honored to partner with CMHA on this exciting development,” said Joe DiCesare, Senior Vice President-Construction, Woda Cooper Companies.

“High quality affordable housing for lower-income elderly households has been in short supply for many years throughout central Ohio and the demand is only expected to increase,” DiCesare said. “McKinley Manor will offer its residents high quality, energy efficient homes with easy access to businesses and nearby services such as health care, physical fitness and banking.”

The neighborhood where McKinley Manor is located has a high concentration of vulnerable seniors facing housing cost burdens and chronic health issues.

According to a 2017 report from the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, elderly households make up 38% of low-income, cost-burdened homeowners in Franklin County. Franklin County has the second-highest population of seniors in Ohio, according to a study by the Kirwan Institute. This population is projected to grow by 53% between 2015 – 2030, a rate five times higher than the overall population growth of Franklin County.

Seniors in this area, including groups struggling against economic marginalization and those at higher risk of having one or more disabilities, face many challenges and are often dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Housing costs represent the greatest expense, and biggest share of household budgets, for Americans 55 and older, according to the National Council on Aging. The median monthly rent in America's 50 largest metro areas including Greater Columbus hit $1,876 in June, a new record after 15 consecutive months of increases, according to Realtor.com. Rents in America have risen 14%, overall, since June 2021, going up much more than wages. And they're now 28% higher than in 2019.

Experts say the spike is partly due to landlords making up for their inability to raise rents early in the pandemic and current vacancy rates at their lowest point in 35 years.

Eligibility criteria for McKinley Manor Senior apartments' residents include:

  • Head of household or spouse 55 years of age or older;
  • Very low income (at or below 30% and 50% of median income), or low income (typically at or below 60% of median income; but as high as 80% of median income with compliance with average income policies); and
  • Could be experiencing homelessness and will benefit from permanent supportive housing.

CMHA cites studies that have shown the average age of residents moving into an elderly housing facility is at least 74 years. Recent surveys indicate that 25% of all residents in federally assisted elderly housing need some level of supportive services.

That’s why CMHA will prioritize promoting awareness and encouraging McKinley Manor residents to utilize the services offered through CMHA’s new Resident Initiatives for Success & Empowerment (RISE) Center, said CMHA Vice President of Resident Initiatives Sonja Nelson.

“The mission of CMHA is not only to provide housing,” Nelson said. “We will provide supports to obtain and maintain housing stability that serve as a foundation for our elderly residents to imagine, define, pursue, and obtain their goals while helping them remain independent as they age-in-place.”

The RISE Center opened in the fall of 2021 and recently became designated a non-profit entity. The RISE Center creates sustainable partnerships and programs that embody the values of choice, empowerment, and inclusion to support residents’ success in all aspects of their lives. The RISE staff also will work with other community organizations to coordinate on-site events and activities at McKinley Manor, such as resource fairs, digital literacy programs and health clinics.

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development identified The RISE Center as an EnVision location. It is the first of its kind for Columbus and one of only six similar federally approved operations in Ohio. It provides a one-stop shop that links CMHA residents with financial literacy, educational advancement and health and employment services to remove barriers to economic self-sufficiency.

Examples of services provided at The RISE Center include helping Franklin County residents:

  • Apply for emergency rental assistance and utility bill payment plans and understand their lease agreement.
  • Sign up for health insurance, unemployment and food assistance.
  • Find employment, housing, medical care and educational opportunities.
  • Manage health and well-being, including understanding illnesses and medications.
  • Learn more about family planning, pregnancy care and care for the entire family.

For more information, visit cmhanet.com.


About CMHA: CMHA helps people access affordable housing through collaborative partnerships, promotes neighborhood revitalization and assists residents in accessing needed social services. CMHA has more than doubled its portfolio of housing over the last five years. It owns over 4,500 units of affordable housing and through its Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Rental Assistance Programs provides rental assistance to over 160,000 Ohio and Washington, D.C., residents. Approximately 71% of the units in the CMHA portfolio are affordable to renters making 80% AMI or less.

About Woda Cooper Companies Inc.: Woda Cooper Companies Inc. and its affiliates specialize in the development, design, construction, and management of high-quality affordable multi-family apartments, senior communities, and single-family homes. The company marked 30 years in business May 2, 2020, with operations in 16 states and a portfolio of approximately 400 communities and 16,000 units. Green building is standard with certifications including Passive House, Zero Energy Ready Homes, LEED, Enterprise Green, EarthCraft, and ENERGY STAR. Woda Cooper has offices in Savannah, GA; Indianapolis, IN; Shelbyville, KY; Queenstown, MD; Mackinaw City, MI; Columbus, OH; and Norfolk, VA. Affordable Housing Finance magazine ranked Woda Cooper Companies 10th in nation among Developers and 17th among Owners in 2022.

Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
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