Press Release: Davidson’s Landing Wins SIPA Excellence in Building Award


Our Davidson’s Landing workforce housing development in Kansas City was awarded FIRST PLACE in the Multi-family Category of the Excellence in Building Awards at last night’s kick-off of the annual Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) Meeting and Expo in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Davidson’s Landing is the first of a new breed of energy-efficient apartments serving the hard-to-reach middle-income workforce housing market. Because we utilized SIPs, we were able to successfully monetize the energy benefits to make the numbers work for this project.

Many thanks to my development partners (Robert Hughes and Jason Young) and my design partners (John Urban, Michael Lash, Philip Agee, Chris Mathis, Erik Henson, and Chris Bloom) for their help in making this project a success.

A link to the SIPA award site is found here

Press Release: Davidson’s Landing Apartment Homes


Introducing Davidson’s Landing Apartment Homes – our newest workforce housing development located in Kansas City.

After three years of challenges – the COVID pandemic, supply chain disruptions, record inflation, interest rate hikes, capital market dislocations, investor skittishness, etc – we have successfully completed the construction and lease up (ahead of schedule and under budget) of this 115-unit workforce housing development.

Many thanks to my development partners (Robert Hughes and Jason Young ) and my design partners (John UrbanMichael LashPhilip AgeeChris MathisChris Bloom and Erik Henson) for their help in making this project a success.

And many thanks to our financing partners as well (Tracy HowrenWilliam TeschkeMichael LearSusan CalderonAlissa IceHeather Olson, CCIM and John Sabatier), without whom this project would not have been possible.

Johnston Farms Apartment Homes


Johnston Farms Apartment Homes is a proposed 120-unit apartment community serving families in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The estimated cost of this project is $35 million. This workforce housing development project, which targets families earning 80% of area median income, is proposed to be financed with essential function bonds. Construction is planned for May 2023.

The following video gives an overview of this energy-efficient workforce housing development. Feel free to contact Jeff Carroll at with any questions you may have regarding this or any of Tartan Residential’s other energy-efficient workforce housing development opportunities.

The Plight of the Workforce Housing Renter

About 30 percent of renters nationwide make too much to live in government-subsidized housing and not enough to live in newer market-rate housing. These families are often forced to live in older apartments with fewer amenities located on less-desirable areas.

This market segment includes police, firefighters, teachers, manufacturing & construction workers, health care workers, and administrative personnel – the people who make the world turn every single day.

It’s a shame that most municipalities have relegated these renters to inferior, dilapidated housing because they do not have the courage to build sufficient numbers of workforce housing units in their towns.

From the piece:

“It is with a heavy heart that I report to you all … (that) this means no tenants may move back into the apartments,” property manager Josh Mothner wrote in an email to residents on April 24. “You are going to have to find new places to live. I know this is tremendously difficult for everyone.”

A link to the piece is found here

Factory-Built Housing

I am glad to see that factory-built housing is making inroads into the affordable housing space.

From the piece:

“Though residential high-density construction units remain the most prevalent type of modular building, Vaughan Buckley, CEO at Volumetric Building Companies, a Philadelphia-based modular builder, noted a recent shift away from market-rate multifamily projects to affordable housing developments.

Affordable housing projects jumped from around 10% of VBC’s pipeline to about a 50% share over the past year, according to the company.”

A link to the piece is found here

Affordable and Workforce Housing Defined

“Workforce housing” includes low-income housing (below 60% of Area Median Income), middle-income housing (60% to 120% of AMI), and luxury housing (above 120% of AMI).

“Affordable housing” refers to housing (low-income, middle-income AND luxury) that is priced above 30% of a family’s monthly income (including utilities).

We have BOTH a workforce housing problem as well as an affordable housing problem here in the United States. Both problems stem from onerous land use regulations and permitting requirements at the local level.

From the piece:

“Bushman started by talking about workforce housing. He emphasized that workforce housing developments in the area aren’t low-income housing, rather, they’re affordable places to live for the middle-class workers employed at places like Hitachi, Scholastic and Unilever.”

A link to the piece is found here

Single Parents and Workforce Housing

Supporting single parents is one of the most important missing elements in many workforce housing development initiatives.

From the piece:

“And, after talking to some 15-20 other single parents, I found that their biggest need and a pain point, was a lack of a support system and a community – feeling like everything is on your shoulders, that you are on your own, and that no one is there to help you, especially when it comes to raising your child.”

A link to the piece is found here

Workforce Housing: A Resilient Asset Class

Workforce housing stands out as a resilient asset class and a durable investment choice.

From the piece:

“Of course, not all multifamily properties perform equally. Workforce housing—which HUD classifies as residential options that are attainable for working families, typically households earning between 80 percent and 120 percent of area median income—is almost always a good investment prospect since demand tends to remain strong in both bull and bear markets.

As an asset class, workforce housing generally remains shielded from economic volatility. While luxury apartments that cater to those who rent by choice experience shifting demand, residents of workforce housing almost exclusively rent out of necessity. Because of this, there is less turnover when market conditions deteriorate.”

A link to the piece is found here

Triple Bottom Line Development

We’re building a Triple Bottom Line product at Tartan Residential – bright green apartments targeting the underserved workforce housing market that generate attractive returns, are socially responsible, and are energy efficient. We’ve learned that spending a little more on energy efficiency generates huge future benefits, which can be monetized today as a gap-filling capital source.

It appears that the TBL Fund has figured this out as well!

From the piece:

“The Triple Bottom Line Foundation (TBL Fund), a CDFI founded in 2015 that’s part of the nonprofit social enterprise ICAST, serves small and mid-sized multifamily properties, such as apartment buildings, that house underserved groups, including low-income senior citizens, veterans, people with disabilities and other underserved groups. The organization funds sustainable retrofits on these properties, including weatherization upgrades, solar installations, and health and safety projects.”

A link to the piece is found here

The Faces of Workforce Housing: City Employees

Developers need not look far to put a “face” on their future workforce housing residents during public meetings. Indeed, the local municipality itself is normally FULL of employees who don’t make enough to live in the very city/county they serve.

From the piece:

“In a follow up text message on Tuesday, Foley said ‘Any county employee making $25-35 per hour qualifies,’ adding that most blue collar workers, like retail employees or bus drivers, would qualify for the new housing project.”

A link to the piece is found here

How to Keep Projects Affordable and Energy-Efficient

Unfortunately, most affordable and workforce housing developers use “first cost” as a metric for evaluating the feasibility of a project. They focus on construction cost reductions in an effort to close sources/uses gaps for their deals. Lower construction cost normally means less energy efficiency.

My development team discovered that by spending a little more on carefully-selected components, we can increase energy efficiency and attract private capital to close our sources/uses gaps. By focusing on “sources” rather than “uses” of funds, we are able to make our projects pencil out, keeping them affordable AND energy-efficient.

From the piece:

“Local developers say efforts to combat climate change are valuable, but the new rules are costly, threatening their ability to help resolve the region’s housing shortage.”

A link to the piece is found here