The Journal Gazette
Thursday, May 24, 2018 1:00 am

Apartments eyed for former Slocum school

Developers seeking approval for affordable housing plan


The former Frances Slocum Elementary School in Fort Wayne is proposed for remodeling to become part of an effort to bring in additional affordable housing.

Brightpoint, a Fort Wayne-based nonprofit social services agency, and Keller Development Inc., Fort Wayne, are seeking approval of a plan for 43 one- and two-bedroom apartments in the former school and a new two-story building at 2529 Curdes Ave.

The site is near Rolston Street north of East State Boulevard and Parkview Hospital Randallia.

The project will have a public hearing during the Fort Wayne Plan Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 11.

Dawn Gallaway, a manager with Keller Development, said developers are seeking only an approval of a primary development plan because the site already is zoned multifamily residential.

Gallaway compared the project with Hopewell Pointe in the Waynedale area. But the apartments will not be age-restricted to seniors, she said.

Potential residents qualify by having all members of the household have a combined income of 60 percent or below the area's average median household income, Gallaway said.

Income limits are different based on family size and subject to change, she said. Recently the limit was $35,460 for a three-person household, she said.

Twenty-seven units will be within the existing school with the rest of the units in the new building, according to documents filed with the Department of Planning Services.

“The school won't see much difference on the outside. ... We're not changing the footprint,” Gallaway said. “Windows may be replaced, but (the school) is in pretty good shape. It will be mostly interior work.”

A multipurpose room with a kitchen, a computer center and an exercise room are planned for the school and will be open to tenants of both buildings, she said.

The new building will contain about 23,000 square feet and designed with only two-bedroom units, she said. The school will contain both one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

Some units will be designed to accommodate people with disabilities, and Turnstone, a Fort Wayne disability services nonprofit organization, will provide referrals, Gallaway said. Although details remain to be worked out, Turnstone also may offer some services for the new community's residents, she said.

No development standards variances are sought, according to documents submitted to city planners.

In February, the project, estimated at $1.7 million, was awarded $650,000 of the $5 million in Rental Housing Tax Credits awarded to Fort Wayne developments by Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Tax credits help attract private investors to projects.

Frances Slocum school was established in 1937 and closed in 1981. The school was named for a white woman captured in northeast Pennsylvania and raised among the Miami Indians, with whom she identified for much of her life.

The public hearing will take place in Room 35 of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.

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