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Iowa Finance Authority Selects Townhall Apartments and Community Food Market as Winner of Inaugural Housing Innovation Competition

Affordable Housing

DES MOINES – A panel of nationally-acclaimed housing, energy and design judges recently selected the proposed Des Moines development of Townhall Apartments and Community Food Market as the winner of the Iowa Finance Authority’s (IFA) inaugural Innovation in Housing Pitch Competition held at the HousingIowa Conference in Cedar Rapids last week. The project’s Iowa-based developers are Ntontan RE and Newbury Living. The project will now move forward in the Federal Housing Tax Credit Innovation Set-Aside application process and is eligible to receive up to $10 million in federal housing tax credits over a 10-year period to assist in development.

“The enormously successful first annual Housing Innovation Competition is a testament to the caliber of visionary design and sustainable thinking within the housing sector right here in Iowa,”

said Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham. “I congratulate all finalists for their exceptional proposals, I thank the panel of national judges for their thoughtful consideration and I look forward to watching the Townhall Apartments and Community Food Market continue through the approval process.”

The new Iowa Housing Tax Credit Innovation Set-Aside called for creative proposals from developers for housing projects serving special populations or using innovative construction, financing or operations, unique partnerships or other innovations which otherwise may not be feasible through the 9% Federal Housing Tax Credit round. Thirteen applications were received and four finalists were selected to pitch at the HousingIowa Conference in Cedar Rapids this week.

“I commend the Iowa Finance Authority for launching this groundbreaking initiative,” said Stockton Williams, Executive Director of the National Council of State Housing Agencies. “It’s the most innovative and compelling call for innovation in housing that I’ve witnessed throughout the country when it comes to thinking differently about affordable housing development. It’s truly an exciting opportunity to turn innovative ideas in housing into a reality for one Iowa community.”

The Townhall Apartments and Community Food Market
Developers: Ntontan RE and Newbury Living
The Townhall Apartments and Community Food Market will strengthen neighborhood cohesion by offering affordable housing, inclusivity, and economic opportunities. It features housing and a unique food hall offering affordable food options and promoting local culture. Innovations include sustainable design and a focus on resident wellness.

In addition to encouraging innovation in current housing development, this initiative will also invest in the future of innovation and skilled trades in Iowa. IFA will be committing all application fees, which totaled $6,500, to scholarships for high school students interested in pursuing a career in innovation and housing in partnership with the Home Builders Association of Iowa.

The pitch competition judges included: Dian Grueneich, Stanford University Energy Scholar; Ann Oliva, CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness; Jessica Reinert, Executive Director, American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter; Luis Rico-Gutierrez, Dean, Iowa State University College of Design; Mark Shelburne, Novogradac Consulting, LLP; and Stockton Williams, Executive Director, National Council of State Housing Agencies.

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More information on the Housing Innovation Pitch Competition and all four finalists is available at

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