The below text is pulled from the Business Tribune article which can be found here.
By Jules Rodgers
Studio apartments will rent for 15 percent below market rate
People studying at Portland State University will soon feel a little relief from the tight downtown housing market.
Construction has begun on The Amy, a 141-unit building meant to provide more affordable and supportive housing for PSU students.
At the foot of Portland’s Southwest Hills, this five-floor building covers a half block site with 75,000 square feet of independent student housing, including 141 studio units, 32 parking spaces, 230 bike parking spaces and 3,000 square feet of community space.
Dave Garnand, executive director of CHNW, was a practicing architect in Oregon and California for 17 years before taking this job. He also was CEO of iComprehend, then COO for Galois, both Portland-based computer science companies. Garnand served for 20 years on the board for nonprofit Joy Fund, bringing dental care to underserved children.
“We have to build the building, manage it, operate it, pay all financing costs and still our target is 15 percent below market rate,” Garnand said. “As a 501(c)(3), we don’t pay taxes. All that nontaxed money goes directly to lowering rates and making sure there’s enough people who we’re supporting.”
Garnand set the bar for affordability at least 15 percent less than comparable units. It’s not affordable housing by the city’s technical definition, but it is more affordable than renting market-rate.
“We’re really careful with ours to make it on par with comparable units,” Garnand said. “Our higher goal is to figure out how to be even more affordable than that.”
College Housing Northwest (CHNW) was founded in 1968 by Stan Amy, the co-founder of New Seasons, while he was earning his master’s degree in urban planning at PSU.
“Back then it was the only housing for PSU,” said Garnand. “The organization grew to manage all the housing for PSU, and PSU grew up and became the biggest university in the state. CHNW continued on with housing in downtown Portland, Goose Hollow and in Corvallis at OSU.”
In Goose Hollow, CHNW has 345 units, and in Corvallis 231, where CHNW redeveloped one of OSU’s buildings, The Gem.
“It was an old building. We did a complete redevelopment, financed the whole thing, did work transparently to them