Merritt Crossing Grand Opening

Grand Opening Media Event
Wednesday, October 3rd
9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Program at 10:00 a.m.
Tours and interviews available
609 Oak Street, Oakland, CA

Award-winning Affordable Green Housing Community Opens in Downtown Oakland

October 3, 2012 – Oakland, CA. – Today Affordable Housing Associates
and residents of Merritt Crossing welcomed visitors to downtown
Oakland’s newest green housing development, one whose innovative
design has already garnered special recognition from East Bay AIA and
is expected to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.

Located at the edge of Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood near the Lake
Merritt BART station, Merritt Crossing provides 70 affordable
apartments for people 55 and older with low incomes, at least half of
whom, at the time of initial occupancy, were either homeless or at
high-risk of homelessness, living with HIV/AIDS, or challenged by
mental illness. Fifteen of the residents are veterans. The community
is a project of Affordable Housing Associates, a Berkeley-based
nonprofit with a commitment to providing the highest-quality
affordable housing and services.

The first multi-family highrise in California to earn Energy Star
Certification, Merritt Crossing has already won widespread recognition
within architecture and sustainability circles for its
non-institutional design and green features. Located in downtown
Oakland, an innovative air filtering system ensures the highest indoor
air-quality for residents, while glass walls with high-performance
glazing provide both a connection to the street and insulation from
noise. The property’s 55 one-bedroom, 10 two-bedroom, and 5 studio
units are designed to be safe, comfortable and healthy. A beautifully
landscaped courtyard connects with a laundry, community room, kitchen
and service provider’s office. An outstanding example of
non-institutional design, with brightly-colored panels and tiles,
glass walls, and planted mesh façade screens, the development inspires
its residents with pride.

William Jackson grew up in the Bay Area and faced hard times after
returning home from military service. Before moving into Merritt
Crossing he slept in transitional housing and on sidewalks in
Berkeley. He remembers his first morning in his new one-bedroom
apartment. “In transitional housing you share a bathroom. I went to
shave and I looked in the mirror and stopped and grabbed my cheek –
‘Is this real?’ I’m so proud of my new place. This is not just me.
Everybody in this building has a story to tell.”

Susan Friedland, executive director of Affordable Housing Associates,
remarks, "Affordable Housing Associates believes high-quality housing
transforms lives. Merritt Crossing continues our leadership in
building affordable housing centered around residents with programs,
architecture and design that make an impact. Our properties are more
than places to live – they are places of support, growth and

Designed by Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, and constructed by
Nibbi Brothers, Merritt Crossing is expected to achieve a LEED
Platinum rating. It is winner of a 2012 East Bay AIA Honor Award, a
current CFMNH Project of the Quarter, and will be a featured property
on the upcoming GreenBuild “Green Buildings Within Reach” Tour.  The
development has also earned Bay Friendly Landscape certification, and
is expected to achieve more than 200 Points in the Greenpoint Rated

Merritt Crossing’s green features include rooftop photovoltaic panels
that provide energy for lighting and a rooftop solar hot water system,
garden containers that double as storm water retention tanks, planted
mesh rainscreen facades for energy efficiency and quiet, high slag
concrete for lower embodied energy, thermally-broken windows for
energy efficiency, and parking lifts to mitigate parking footprint. An
innovative continuous filtered ventilation system provides 24-hour
fresh air intake and circulates out through bathroom exhaust, keeping
airflow in the building regulated and moisture at bay. Colored exterior
panels are made of Swiss Pearl, a highly durable material that will
ensure the building continues as a bright spot in the downtown Oakland

The project was funded by the city of Oakland, Alameda County,
California HCD Infill Infrastructure Program, California Housing
Finance Agency MHSA, Union Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Federal Home Loan
Bank, Northern CA Community Loan Fund, Alameda County Waste Management Authority (, and Oakland Housing Authority.

About Affordable Housing Associates
Incorporated in 1993, Affordable Housing Associates (AHA) is a
private, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. AHA's mission is "to
strengthen the lives of individuals, families, and communities through
affordable housing." AHA takes a hands-on approach to developing all
of its projects, allowing it to build and maintain strong
relationships with tenants and the communities in which they live. AHA
meets with neighborhood residents, city commissions, and government
agencies as an important part of every development, actively seeking
input from the communities in which our projects are located and
incorporating suggestions whenever possible. AHA counters urban sprawl
by building and renovating housing in existing neighborhoods where
public services are already in place and helps revitalize
neighborhoods by removing blight. AHA strives to enhance the economic
development of the populations we serve and of the larger community in
which we operate by hiring locally and using local suppliers. In the
10 years since the organization was incorporated, AHA has developed
over 900 housing units in 28 residential communities, with another 300
units in various stages of development.

Announcing Satellite Affordable Housing Associates
In July the boards of AHA and Satellite Housing, a 45-year old
affordable housing developer also located in Berkeley, voted to
combine to create a new agency, Satellite Affordable Housing
Associates (SAHA) in early 2013. Our goal in bringing together two
healthy, well-respected organizations with similar missions, cultures,
and values, is to be even more effective in delivering high quality,
green and deeply affordable housing to the Bay Area’s most vulnerable