case study solar renovation
$25 million for renovation,
including $5 million for
the photovoltaic system.
34 June 2009 SOLAR TODAY
had lived there 20 years, under a Housing and
Urban Development Section 8 reduced-rent
lease. A tight-knit community, where families
felt safe and comfortable, had formed.
However, tenants complained frequently
about poor maintenance and deteriorating facilities. In 2003, the tenants formed an
advocacy group, and relations with management grew hostile. Both tenants and the on-site
To speed rooftop assembly, racks were
prefabricated and lifted into place.
manager called the San Diego police to report
potentially abusive confrontations. The San
Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) determined that the conflict could be resolved only
with a change of management. After firing its
on-site manager and cleaning up some vermin-infested apartments, the Order of St. Augustine
decided it didn’t have the resources to manage
the complex efficiently. Its board announced
plans to sell the property.
In 2006, Steadfast Residential Properties
(SRP) of Newport Beach, Calif., began negotiating to buy the development and put out bids
for a major renovation. Steadfast has developed or acquired and refurbished more than
20,000 apartments and manages about 15,000
units in California. In May 2008, Steadfast
bought Villa Nueva for $41.2 million, using
financing arranged by the SDHC through a
tax-exempt bond. Steadfast found financing
for an additional $25 million for renovation,
including $5 million for a 687-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system.
The PV system is an important part of the
business plan. Kyle Winning, president of
SRP, explains that tenants pay $820 to $1,270
monthly for the two-, three- and four-bedroom
apartments, with rent adjusted for income and
family size. Tenants pay no utility bills: SRP
does that, off a master meter. The PV system
austin becker, steadfast companies
The Villa Nueva project consists of 39 three-story apartment buildings, plus two community
centers offering a range of social services.