Ann Arbor lays out green affordable housing proposal in Bloomberg's Mayors Challenge
Ann Arbor is officially one of 305 cites nationwide that have submitted an idea in Bloomberg Philanthropies' first-ever Mayors Challenge.
The city's "green affordable housing" proposal is now in the running to win either a $5 million grand prize or one of four $1 million prizes to help carry out the idea.
Ann Arbor announced last month it would be participating in the challenge. Participating mayors had to submit their ideas by Sept. 14.
According to the contest rules, the winning idea must solve a major social or economic issue, improve the customer service experience for citizens or businesses, enhance accountability, transparency and public engagement, and/or increase government efficiency.
Courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies
Jennifer Hall, the city's Housing Commission director, took the lead on submitting Ann Arbor's proposal on behalf of Mayor John Hieftje.
"The market for green affordable housing is not working in Ann Arbor," the proposal states. "Ann Arbor will drive affordable and green developments by repurposing underutilized publicly-owned properties. Some properties will be sold to the private sector with sales proceeds used to develop affordable housing either on public or private parcels."
Asked what the headline might read on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek if the city's proposal pans out in five years, the city replied in its application: "Ann Arbor reinvents affordable housing as a catalyst for economic development and environmental innovation."
The city estimates it would cost $5,000 to $25,000 per property to conduct a feasibility analysis, $150,000 for workshops and educational components, and $40 million to $60 million to develop the properties and provide incentives.
"The city will work with the state and International Code Council to amend the Michigan Uniform Code to enable technologies as needed," the proposal states, promising the developments will test cutting-edge and alternative building products to educate the public, staff and contractors about green housing technology and increase the demand for energy efficient housing.
A selection committee announced this week will help Bloomberg Philanthropies identify the 20 cities that will advance to the finalist stage of the competition.
Once finalists are selected, teams from each city will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering in New York in November where they will work collaboratively to improve the ideas.
Ann Arbor officials have increased their focus on the issue of affordable housing recently, most notably with City Council Member Sandi Smith's proposal to transfer proceeds from future sales of downtown city-owned properties toward affordable housing. Hall also made a pitch this month to have the Downtown Development Authority give $260,000 to help the Housing Commission complete energy efficient improvements, including a new steel roof, at Baker Commons, 106 Packard.