Our Founding

Naomi Sabel, Ben Ezinga, and Josh Rosen founded Sustainable Community Associates while they were undergraduates at Oberlin College.

At the time, between final exams and worrying about their futures, they had no idea their initial conversations about how to help improve the town of Oberlin would turn into an almost two-decade partnership. Among the common threads over the years have been copious amounts of coffee, amazing mentors, a strong mixture of idealism and realism, and the belief that real estate development, when done well, is a synthesis of good business and catalytic change.

SCA owns, manages and maintains all of their properties—working with a dedicated leasing, operations and maintenance staff who share their vision and sense of stewardship.



SCA has worked on sites including old gas stations, dry cleaners, and chrome plating facilities; we have collaborated with cities on rezonings, variances, TIFs, and grants; and have navigated complicated financing structures including Housing and Urban Development appropriations, New Market Tax Credits, State and Federal Historic Tax Credits, County Brownfield loans, Opportunity Zone investments as well as Ohio Water Development Authority and JobsOhio grants and loans.


To date, SCA has brought over $120 million of projects from concept to occupancy, and tackled all of the approvals, permits, variances, delays, price hikes, financing gaps, and mishaps that have occurred along the way.


Our Sustainable Design Principles

All of our projects, which include seven completed multi-family residences (many of which are mixed-use) and one currently under renovation, are Enterprise Green Communities or LEED Certified. The East College Street Project in Oberlin was part of the USGBC LEED Neighborhood Development Pilot Program.


Regardless of points or certifications, we invest heavily in the envelopes and thermal efficiencies of our buildings—always exceeding requirements. In one project we implemented an energy-use monitoring system so that residents and businesses can track in real time how their consumption compares to those around them. In another, we integrated a series of bioswales and rain gardens into the landscaping. In yet another project, we designed such a thermally-efficient envelope that apartments typically heat or cool for less than a dollar per day.

We design to maximize natural light and fresh air, and emphasize the use of sustainable materials. Our goal is always to reduce the water and energy consumption of, and ultimately the energy expense for, our tenants.

Our Work with the Community

Our work focuses on catalytic projects larger developers overlook because of the size or complexity but have an oversized impact on the neighborhood.

Our commitment extends beyond the building itself. We create public, outdoor spaces that welcome our neighbors in and invest in businesses like Leavened and Tremont Athletic Club that become neighborhood assets and destinations.

We’ve worked with local block clubs to install wayfinding signage for the neighborhood, registered new voters, organized food drives for neighbors in need, and supported the local schools. This focus resonates with those who become residents in our communities. They often become engaged, active neighborhood advocates, frequently donating and volunteering within the communities that we work.

SCA in the News

“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.”

David Orr, Professor at Oberlin College