Photograph of an intersection in Mountain View showing two new three-story mixed-use buildings that have been developed along the commercial corridor. Photograph of a boarded-up home in the process of being demolished with heavy machinery. Photograph of three 2-story and two 1-story single-family homes in Mountain View. Photograph of a two-story duplex home. Map of Mountain View depicting parcels of land that are color-coded based on the year that the parcel was redeveloped.

 

Home >Case Studies >Anchorage, Alaska: Community Revitalization in Mountain View Village

 

Anchorage, Alaska: Community Revitalization in Mountain View Village

 

For more than 10 years, the Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA), in partnership with the Mountain View Community Council and the Anchorage Community Land Trust (ACLT), has advanced a substantial revitalization program in the Mountain View Village neighborhood in Anchorage, Alaska. CIHA has implemented its scattered-site housing redevelopment efforts alongside ACLT’s commercial redevelopment activities to support economic development in Mountain View’s business district. CIHA received the 2014 HUD Secretary’s Opportunity and Empowerment Award in recognition of the measureable improvements to the neighborhood and the organization’s efforts to align its investment strategy with the community’s goals for the neighborhood.

Background and Context

As one of Anchorage’s oldest neighborhoods, Mountain View has played a key role in the city’s growth. During the 1950s, Mountain View grew up around the Elmendorf Air Force Base, supporting a diverse population of military families and civilian entrepreneurs who developed a neighborhood business district. In the 1970s, the predominantly single-family character of the neighborhood changed when apartments were built to accommodate the influx of workers constructing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

When pipeline construction drew to a close and the workforce moved on, the neighborhood began to decline. Many of the apartments deteriorated under absentee landlords, contributing to neighborhood blight. By 2000, a disproportionate number of residents were low-income households living in substandard rental housing, and the neighborhood suffered from high crime rates and commercial and residential disinvestment. Despite deteriorating physical and socioeconomic conditions, Mountain View continued to grow, gaining more than 1,400 residents between 1990 and 2000 for a total population of more than 6,700. This growth has created a diverse population of Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander, African American, and white residents.

In the early 2000s, the Mountain View Community Council, a nonprofit organization responsible for advancing the neighborhood’s interests with the city government, partnered with CIHA and ACLT to implement a community-based plan for renewal. As the Tribally Designated Housing Entity for Cook Inlet, CIHA was well suited to lead the residential revitalization efforts, while ACLT focused on economic development in the commercial district.

Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority; Interview with Sezy Gerow-Hanson, director, public and resident relations, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, 29 July 2014.

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Source:

U.S. Census Bureau. “Profile of General Demographic Characteristics,” 2000 Census. American FactFinder. Accessed 29 July 2014.

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Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Scattered-Site Residential Reinvestment

In implementing the residential revitalization program, CIHA aligned its investment strategy with the Mountain View Community Council’s goals for the neighborhood. These goals included removing blighted, deteriorated, and vacant structures; increasing homeownership opportunities and reducing the number of absentee landlords; removing poorly designed apartment buildings to reduce density; and increasing the availability of high-quality, affordable housing.

To achieve these goals, CIHA spearheaded a scattered-site redevelopment strategy. By focusing on the neighborhood as a whole rather than just a single block, the organization fostered community engagement and reinvestment throughout Mountain View. Since 2004, the housing authority has brought more than $84 million in housing investment to the neighborhood, removing more than 130 deteriorated structures and creating nearly 280 high-quality, affordable rental and homeownership units. This approach has helped revitalize approximately 180 properties on more than 70 percent of the blocks in the neighborhood.

To sustain the community’s revitalization, CIHA has relied on various funding sources and creative strategies. CIHA has used funds from its Indian Housing Block Grant allocation for site acquisition and demolition and used other sources to finance new construction and rehabilitation projects. Most of the rental development was financed with low-income housing tax credits awarded by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (table 1). The units were developed in 5 phases over 10 years, resulting in numerous rental options in single-family, duplex, fourplex, and small (less than 12 units) mixed-use projects along the commercial corridor. Another aspect of CIHA’s rental housing strategy involved using Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds from HUD to construct 22 duplex rental units in 2009.

CIHA has also expanded homeownership opportunities in Mountain View. Since 2005, CIHA has developed 51 single-family homes and sold them to moderate-income homeowners earning between 80 and 100 percent of the area median income, which is $84,900 in 2014. Along with these direct homeownership opportunities, many of the single-family rental units financed with low-income housing tax credits are eligible to be purchased after 15 years. CIHA’s affiliate, the Cook Inlet Lending Center, has provided more than $3.4 million in second mortgages to new homeowners to support this aspect of the revitalization.

Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Source:

Interview with Sezy Gerow-Hanson, director, public and resident relations, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, 29 July 2014.

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Source:

Interview with Sezy Gerow-Hanson, director, public and resident relations, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, 29 July 2014; Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Table 1. Sample Financing Table: Mountain View Village Rental Development Phase IV,
34 rental units


Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Equity

$10,900,000

Supplemental Grant

1,400,000

1st Deed of Trust (Alaska Housing Finance Corporation)

1,000,000

CIHA Capital Contribution

1,000,000

2nd Deed of Trust (Alaska Housing Finance Corporation)

600,000

Indian Housing Block Grant Program

600,000

Owner-Operator Cash Contribution

100,000

Total

$15,800,000

 

Restoring the Commercial Corridor

Mountain View’s revitalization strategy combines residential reinvestment with improvements to the commercial district. A major partner in these efforts has been ACLT, which was created in 2003 to support sustainable community development in Anchorage. ACLT’s efforts in Mountain View have focused on the commercial corridor, where it acquires, assembles, and redevelops distressed properties.

In one of its first projects, ACLT played a lead role in recruiting a credit union to open a new branch in Mountain View on the site of a former gas station. The land trust acquired the property and facilitated an environmental remediation of the contaminated site before selling the land to the credit union, which used it to build the first financial institution in the neighborhood in more than 20 years. In another project, ACLT repurposed a former furniture warehouse that now serves as office space for several nonprofit organizations. A Section 108 loan from the Community Development Block Grant program, along with grants from HUD’s Brownfields Economic Development Initiative and Economic Development Initiative Special Project grant programs, provided a portion of the financing for the $11.1 million adaptive reuse project (table 2). The organization has been involved in the redevelopment of 9 properties along the corridor, with some completed and others in various stages of redevelopment, totaling approximately $20 million in investments.


Table 2. Sample Financing Table: Mountain View Service Center

HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program

$1,700,000

HUD Brownfields Economic Development Initiative Grant

800,000

HUD Economic Development Initiative Special Projects Grant

700,000

New Markets Tax Credit Equity

5,000,000

Other Sources

2,900,000

Total

$11,100,000

 

Measuring Community Progress

After more than 10 years of revitalization, Mountain View has experienced significant improvements in the quality of the built environment and in the way the neighborhood is perceived. Other social and economic indicators are showing signs of progress. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the neighborhood gained more than 1,000 residents from 2000 to 2010 while remaining one of the most diverse communities in the country. Residents are also staying in Mountain View longer, bringing stability to a community that had experienced high rates of turnover. In 2010, half of all residents had lived in the community for more than 5 years, compared with 22 percent a decade earlier.

The housing investments are decreasing vacancy rates and raising property values. Residential vacancy rates have decreased by four percentage points since the revitalization efforts began. Values for improved and unimproved property in Mountain View have increased more than those in other parts of Anchorage. The neighborhood is also showing signs of becoming more economically integrated. Although poverty rates rose slightly from 2000 to 2012 (from 25.1% to 27.5%), median household income rose from $30,750 to $40,915 over the same time period. Education trends among Mountain View youth are also improving, with increased high school graduation rates, strong attendance records, and less transience among youth.

Mountain View’s progress is the result of close community collaboration that has aligned goals and resources to achieve desired community outcomes. The partners are working to sustain the community’s progress through continued housing-related investments and supporting business development and entrepreneurship along the commercial corridor. ACLT is currently leading a community process that will update the neighborhood plan to create a resident-informed framework for future private and public investments in Mountain View.


Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Source:

Anchorage Community Land Trust. “About Us.” Accessed 29 July 2014.

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Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority; Interview with Jewel Jones, executive director, and Radhika Krishna, community development associate, Anchorage Community Land Trust, 15 July 2014; Email correspondence with Kirk Rose, community development manager, Anchorage Community Land Trust.

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Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Source:

Documents provided by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.

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Source:

Documents provided by Anchorage Community Land Trust.

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