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March 1, 2013

Logansport senior housing project gets funding

Developer to receive over $6 million in tax credits to develop former school into senior housing

A developer has recently received an award of over $600,000 per year for the next 10 years from the state to develop the old McKinley school into senior housing.

Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann announced Thursday that an annual amount of more than $14 million for the next decade in rental housing tax credits was awarded to 20 housing developments across the state, with $621,197 per year going toward the McKinley school project.

The school, located at 1501 Meadlawn Ave., will be developed by Indianapolis-based Crestline Communities. James Wilson, president of Crestline, said development would likely begin in September and be finished by March of 2014.

“The project is senior oriented with varying rent,” Wilson said. “It will preserve the school, which has been vacant for a number of years but in good shape.”

Last summer, Crestline had originally proposed to build 70 units at both McKinley and at 401 Tanguy St., the location of the old Jefferson school. However, it was unable to finance the project after its application for $9 million in tax credits was denied by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. It has since decided to pursue building 38 units at just the McKinley site and reapplied for tax credits last November.

After Crestline’s $9 million tax credit application was denied, Logansport City Council voted to approve a resolution granting the company a 12-month extension on a planned united development agreement for McKinley last September.

Wilson said the project will likely cost around $6.5 million. After selling the tax credits, which won’t be at a dollar-for-dollar amount, Wilson said he expects to end up with around $5 million. The rest of the project will be funded by private debt.

Councilman Bob Bishop, who represents the ward McKinley is in, said he supports the project.

“Overall I think it will be a good use for the building and for the area if it’s for senior housing,” Bishop said.

Bishop added he received concerns from constituents when the project was first being attempted last year regarding how power and drainage might be affected if and when development began.

“I actually have talked to some of my constituents when I went door-to-door and they did have some issues but I think they’re issues that can be taken care of,” Bishop said.

Clarence Truman, who lives near the former school, said he has mixed feelings on the project.

I’m kind of split on it,” he said, adding he’s concerned about the possibility of increased traffic and how a retaining wall might affect drainage.

A sound barrier wall and privacy were also concerns for Truman.

“If the building’s going to be four stories, they’ll be able to view right into our house,” he said. “I don’t care how high the wall’s going to be, it’ll still have an effect on privacy.”

Wilson said the plan is to renovate the current two-story building and construct a three-story addition.

Jerry Drummond, who also lives in the area, said he supports the project.

“I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “We need more of these types of things. [The building] isn’t doing any good the way it is, maybe we’ll get some use out of it.”

Bishop said he would continue to address his constituents’ concerns as the project moves forward.

“If we do get into where we’re looking like we’re going to do something, I’ll certainly get involved with that and get back and talk with those people,” Bishop said.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

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