Forest Square

The Challenge

Forest Square is a significant component of the Burnet Avenue Revitalization effort to bring a renaissance to the struggling historic Cincinnati neighborhood of Avondale. The project is a newly-constructed LEED-Certified building consisting of 21 affordable senior housing units located on a high profile site—a previously vacant corner lot in the heart of the business/retail district. The major challenges of this work included:

  • Construction projects that are located within existing urban sites create needs for specialized management skills and processes.
  • Architectural design would need compatibility with the neighborhood context.
  • Construction would need to meet the Enterprise Green Communities criteria and Silver LEED Certification.
  • Construction finish quality would need to be indistinguishable from other market rate housing that exists in the surrounding neighborhood.

Project Objectives

The scope of work for Forest Square was both thorough and extensive; all units needed to be constructed new and designed to market rate standards. The new units would include energy efficient mechanical, electric and plumbing systems, hardwood floors, ceramic tile kitchens and bathroom floors, high efficiency furnaces and air conditioning, and all new energy star appliances. High quality interior finishes and cabinetry would be needed to complement the living areas.

The Construction Solution

The planning and management of this project utilized an integrated design-build approach as a strategy to balance the needs for appropriate design, high-level quality, and the construction budget. Model Construction’s significant experience within urban areas provided the framework to guide a successful redevelopment project. Highlights of the solutions included:

  • Experienced project team delivered Ohio’s first LEED-Certified affordable housing development. 
  • Personal visit to the site, and recognition by, United States HUD Secretary Shawn Donavan.
  • Prevailing wage rates and economic inclusionary participation were incorporated into all planning phases to meet neighborhood commitments.
  • A three-story wood-framed double-loaded corridor building was designed with the following features:
  • 21 two-bedroom units approximately 1,000 square feet each.
  • A lobby equipped with a fireplace and activity area adjacent to the main entrance.
  • A kitchenette and community space with a fireplace for social gatherings.
  • Outdoor patio and garden areas for residents. 
  • Extensive green space and trees.
  • Security fence surrounding the property.
  • Two handicap-accessible units on the main floor.
  • Common laundry areas.