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Sunday, March 24, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Noji Gardens wins national award for pioneering, affordable housing

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A pioneering approach to providing affordable housing has won national recognition for HomeSight, a Seattle nonprofit developer.

The innovation is the Northwest's first two-story manufactured-housing neighborhood. Called Noji Gardens, it's composed of 75 duplex homes located on six acres in the Rainier Valley.

In April, the National Manufactured Housing Institute will honor Noji Gardens with its 2001 Subdivision of the Year award.

"Noji Gardens is a major step forward for the manufactured-housing industry," said Chris Stinebert, the institute's president.

According to executive director Dorothy Lengyel, HomeSight developed the Noji designs as a way to provide housing for low-income families. "This was a stated objective in HomeSight's plan to purse standardized, cost-effective and well-designed manufactured housing," Lengyel said. The designs are now being used in Oregon, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

Located near Juneau Street and 32nd Avenue South, Noji Gardens has been built in three phases. The third is being completed this spring. Homes have two to four bedrooms and sell for $160,000 to $200,000. Purchase assistance is available, which brings the price down. (For more information call 206-723-4355 or go online to www.homesightwa.org.)

Each Noji Gardens building is actually four manufactured-housing components or sections. They're stacked and placed side by side, creating mirror-image duplex homes separated by a firewall.

While Seattle allows manufactured housing, numerous procedural and regulatory steps stood in the way of actually building Noji Gardens.

"Dorothy Lengyel's efforts to convince public officials and housing-advocacy groups of the benefits of manufactured housing proved a major turning point in removing these subtle barriers," said Joan Brown, executive director of the Washington Manufactured Housing Association.

HomeSight's mission is to promote the revitalization of Seattle's Duwamish, Delridge, Central and Southeast neighborhoods through the development of affordable housing.

Information in this article, originally published March 24, was corrected March 28. An incorrect Web address was given for HomeSight, a nonprofit housing developer. The correct address is www.homesightwa.org.

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