Orchard View Apartments was developed in two phases. Farmington’s diverse economic base of medical, manufacturing and service sector employers signaled a clear need for quality affordable housing, of which there was little prior to Orchard View. Predictably, the chief impediment to meeting the need was zoning. However, by building a coalition of councilmembers around “the right site”, an “island” of pasture land surrounded by development was rezoned to permit a multifamily complex.
The first phase was completed in December, 2003 and all 40 units leased up that month. Despite the success of the first phase, Renaissance Property Group was unable to win a LIHTC award for a second phase until 2009—in the midst of the Great Recession. Fortunately, Kansas City Life Insurance Company had remained in solid financial condition, saw the demand for the project, and agreed to fund a direct investment in the 56-unit second phase.
As a result of Orchard View, 96 households working in Farmington are able to live there too, enjoying its superior schools, services and quality of life. And the City of Farmington’s attitude toward affordable housing, previously based on stereotypes and fear, has been transformed.