Arden Master Planned Community Ripe For Its NAHB Awards

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) hosted The Nationals, their annual awards competition this week at Caesers Palace in Las Vegas. Presented by the National Sales and Marketing Council of NAHB, and co-sponsored by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, The Nationals are NAHB’s most prestigious honors and spotlight the best of new-home sales and marketing, spanning 61 categories from a field of over 1,300 entries.

Taking home the NAHB Gold Award for Best Amenity is Arden, South Florida’s first planned-agriculture neighborhood, or so-coined “agrihood” amenity. Recognized for its many exceptional amenities, including the central barn and resort-style Lakehouse, Arden is located in the heart of Palm Beach County. Developed by Boston-based Freehold Communities, Arden has 2,000 new homes planned, and is situated with convenient access to Florida’s I-95 Turnpike.

“It is an unmistakable honor for Arden to be awarded the 2020 NAHB Gold Award for ‘Best Amenity’ at The Nationals,” said Andrew Smith, division president at Freehold Communities.

Arden is designed to offer quality of life through sustainable, farm-to-table living. Residents of Arden share in the agrihood’s harvest of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. The five-acre farm is maintained by two full-time directors, and the residents may volunteer with them to tend or plant the crops, and participate in seasonal classes onsite in the 4,000-square-foot event barn – added nourishment to the lifestyle available in Arden.

Freehold Communities is developing 10,000 residential lots across the U.S., in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and California. Broadly speaking, Freehold Communities’ Arden helps to revitalize the connective idea of what “neighborhood” can mean within the conceptual sphere of 21st-century residential real estate development.

Along with Best Amenity, Arden picked a bushel of awards from NAHB, including:

  • Gold Award for Best Realtor/Broker Program for Arden 101
  • Gold Award for Best Website for a Community
  • Gold Award for Best Marketing Professional, Suzanne Maddalon, VP of Marketing at Freehold Communities
  • Silver Award for Best Master Planned Community

The housing at Arden is built by a collective of homebuilders, including Ryan Homes, Lennar, and Kenco Communities. The project architect is Peacock and Lewis. Interiors are by Ansana Interior Design. Land planning is by ELM – Ervin Lovett Miller, Lucido & Associates and UDKS – Urban Design Kilday Studio. Marketing provided by the O’Donnell Agency, p11 Creative and Wick Marketing.

About the Best Amenity honor, Smith added, “This award recognizes that Arden combines the wonders of nature with the joys of healthy living to create a community that is unlike any other nationwide.”

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Signs Of Durability In C-PACE Finance

In the Climate Era, take note on the emergence of C-PACE. It’s both a financing tool and an industry, created for funding projects with private capital in energy efficiency, renewable energy and resiliency, on new and existing commercial properties in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

For the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy industry, market development, cumulative investments and association membership are signaling this esoteric finance mechanism is building mainstream muscle.

As with conventional financing, commercial property owners borrow C-PACE capital to pay for designated improvement costs. How does C-PACE differ from conventional financing? The borrowed capital becomes a property tax assessment, which the owners — and future owners, as the case may be — repay with the property’s regular tax bill.

Major movements in C-PACE market development occurred last year, as geographic areas opened in large East Coast and Midwest cities thanks to state enabling legislation and city-council adoption.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, the first transaction in the Windy City closed, enhancing publicity for the alternative finance tool. CounterpointSRE provided $21.25 million in C-PACE financing toward the capital stack, for redevelopment at the historic Continental and Commercial Bank Building, a Chicago Landmark.

The top five, formerly-vacant floors are transforming into The Reserve Hotel, a 233-room luxury boutique hotel and member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, slated to open in spring 2021. The energy-efficient improvements are projected to net an estimated $3 million in total energy savings over a 25-year expected useful life. Plus, water-conserving, low-flow fixtures are pegged for net savings of 2.27 million gallons per year.

“Being able to support The Prime Group’s development of The Reserve Hotel is an important first step in the city for Counterpoint as we make our first investment in the sustainable infrastructure of Chicago’s diverse built environment,” said Eric J. Alini, managing partner of Counterpointe Sustainable Real Estate, in a statement.

“We look at this transaction as a sign of things to come for the nation’s larger cities,” Alini said, “including Philadelphia and New York City where programs are emerging.”

Ten years ago, the first few C-PACE programs moved stealthily out from the shadows of the Great Recession. Since 2009, cumulative C-PACE investments in real estate have climbed to over $1.1 billion. That number comes from PACE Nation, the trade association for residential and commercial PACE programs, which tracks data voluntarily submitted. The data might not reflect all market activity for year 2019, yet.

C-PACE investment by project type or use, again cumulatively and from PACE Nation, is as follows:

  • Energy efficiency 49%
  • Renewable energy 23%
  • Mixed-uses 22%
  • Resiliency 7%

What’s more, additional capital providers have joined the ranks of the C-PACE Alliance, a coalition to promote Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy financing. The C-PACE Alliance unifies capital providers and transaction experts as a collective with common goals, for the integrity of C-PACE program design and administration. Together they can bolster the volume of quality transactions for the consumer and the industry, while assisting in the reduction of energy consumption and improving the functionality of retail, office, industrial, apartment and agricultural buildings.

The four most recent members to join the C-PACE Alliance are: Dividend Finance in San Francisco, California; Greenworks Lending in Darien, Connecticut; PACE Equity in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Stonehill Strategic Capital in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Each of these four companies adds a new perspective that will strengthen [our] efforts to make C-PACE financing widely available and easy to use,” said Cliff Kellogg, executive director of the C-PACE Alliance, in a recent statement.

Despite the expansion of markets, C-PACE remains unchartered territory to many commercial property owners. Though 10 years “in,” there remains a need for more market education. The general takeaway? In business, not every consumer becomes an early adopter.

Given the potential for growth and the potential variability of additional states’ authorizing legislation, it is important for best practices to take shape and be communicated, and the C-PACE Alliance is ready and in a position to advise accordingly.

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