7 Aug, 2017

One of two major developments in Eaton County gets funding

EATON COUNTY – One of two multi-million dollar area development projects that hinged on the approval of government tax credits secured funding this month.

Indianapolis-based developer TWG Development’s application for a senior housing tax credit from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority was approved earlier this month.

The estimated $7 million in state tax credits will make way for the purchase and demolition of a vacant grocery store near Charlotte’s downtown and construction of a $7.5 million three-story low-income senior housing complex in its place.

Plans to restore and redevelop an aging 80-year-old elementary school in Eaton Rapids as 36 low-income apartments for senior citizens are on hold for now because the project wasn’t approved for incentives.

The developer planning that project, Home Renewal Systems, LLC of Farmington Hills, could reapply for an estimated $8 million in federal historic tax credits and low-income state tax credits that weren’t approved this month in October.

Store to make way for housing

Elizabeth Whitsett, development director for TWG Development, said the recent tax credit approval paves the way for the company’s purchase of a 27,264-square-foot building that’s housed two different grocery stores — Carter’s Foods and later the Charlotte IGA — in the last three decades on South Washington Street.

Whitsett said TWG Development, the same firm redeveloping the former Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing with a mixed-income family housing project, could close on the property’s $449,000 purchase from Community of Christ Church by January.

Plans include demolishing the building and constructing a three-story building with 40 one- and two-bedroom apartments for “active seniors, age 55 and older” on the property.

The apartments will range from 680 square feet to just over 1,000 square feet. Rents would range between $300 and $750 a month, based on each resident’s income.

Construction is scheduled to start next spring, Whitsett said, and the housing development is expected to be finished by spring of 2019.

School redevelopment still possible

Rick Ballard, an East Lansing consultant who represents Home Renewal Systems, said the company is still interested in revitalizing the former King Street School. Thousands of kids were educated there for more than five decades and the building is within the boundaries of the city’s historic district.

The company’s application for federal tax credits were denied this month.

Ballard said the company is still interested in purchasing the school.

“We’re optimistic that we’ll be able to resubmit in October,” Ballard said. “Every round of applications is different.”

The 35,000-square-foot building has been vacant for more than a decade but Home Renewal Systems is proposing restoring the space to accommodate 36 apartments for senior citizens.

Plans called for the school’s old gymnasium, which occupies just over 2,000 square feet, to house a fitness loft for residents stocked with exercise equipment, but it would also be open for community use. Plans call for the creation of a library and lounge areas inside the building and restoration of a stone porch in front.

“We’ll go back through and reconsider our costs,” Ballard said.  “We’ll look at everything.”

Original article here.