For several months on our near daily walks, Dorothy and I pass this sign. Since I am a big fan of anything that expands the availability of new homes to those who need some help, I was excited to see what looked like a great deal of care in the architecture and land plan for this new work-force housing community. Looks pretty cool doesn’t it? I’ll bet that’s what the City of Bainbridge Island planners thought too when they approved the project. Ferncliff Village is now well underway with homes in all stage of completion. And the prices? The Ferncliff Village website peg prices at $148,000 to $220,000 for income qualified buyers. This is admirable!
Today walking by, I snapped a couple more photos. For week’s I’ve been concerned that the promise and the reality of this project just didn’t seem to be in synch. You take a look and make up you own mind.
Ferncliff Village is an affordable community developed by the Bainbridge Housing Resource Board. This is a group that does very good work providing affordable and work-force housing in a community where land prices are high and development restrictions prevent land prices from every again being in the reach of “everyman”. We like the work of this group, but simply question, does being affordable mean less care and attention to detail? Less imagination? Less focus on good design? We challenge those in the affordable arena to push the envelope a bit more. In past generations we have seen what started off as “affordable” turn into “the projects”, and in some communities, into slums. We believe Ferncliff Village clears this bar, but just barely.
If you are one of our friends in architecture, land planning or development, we encourage your teams to try harder, apply more creativity and leverage the mass amount of talent the new home industry possesses to do much more with less.
Fusion has a standing policy to provide a minimum 30% reduction in our rates when we work for non-profits serving the affordable/work-force housing market sectors. And we approach that work with all the passion and creativity we can muster!
It’s been good for business. And good for the soul.
Some Fusion work-force/affordable communities: