The Opal Apartments bring diversity and affordability to downtown Cedar Mill

opal exterior
opal exterior

On April 11, we gathered at the newest building in Cedar Mill to celebrate The Opal, at the corner of Dogwood and Saltzman, opposite the library. County officials, employees from Friendly House, Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC) members and leaders, and people from around the community joined prospective tenants in celebrating the beautiful new five-story apartment building. We toured apartments and heard comments from representatives of the organizations that made it possible, including Pam Treece, our County Commissioner, and Juan Carlos Gonzalez, our Metro Councilor. 

opal apartment interior

This new apartment community will provide 54 affordable homes for older adults, with an emphasis on serving LGBTQ+ residents with limited incomes. Construction was funded in part with over $6 million in Metro affordable housing bond funds—about a quarter of the project’s total costs. Redstone Equity Partners and Beneficial State Bank were finance partners. 

opal interior living room

It dedicates half its units to serving extremely low-income residents, with income at 30% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), by utilizing 24 project-based vouchers for rental assistance. The remaining half will serve very-low-income residents, earning less than 60% of AMI.

opal speech gathering outdoors

Friendly House Elder Pride Services will provide resident services, with the goal of creating a safe, welcoming community where residents have the support and resources they need to live healthy, active, independent lives. Friendly House will offer a variety of educational, social, recreational, fitness, wellness, and community-building opportunities. Several large and welcoming gathering spaces take up much of the main floor entrance area. Some of those spaces will also be available for community use. (CPO 1 is hoping to meet there soon.)

pastor kuan

Rev. Paul Richards-Kuan, the lead pastor at Christ United, said the idea for this project started nearly 20 years ago, and began in earnest in 2018 following the passage of a Metro voter-approved affordable housing bond that year. CUMC worked with Home First Development Partners to create the development on land they owned. As Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth explained in his remarks at the opening celebration, this project is part of the church’s ongoing initiative to use its land for the creation of affordable housing. Church members made over 60 quilts to welcome new residents. The church is also donating supplies for the communal kitchen.

Jan Dempsey realtor

If you are interested in making The Opal your new home, please visit their website. Watch this video from Washington County on YouTube for a summary of the opening celebration.