The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, February 26, 2016 3:31 am

Housing project wins tax grants

Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette

A project to bring 62 new affordable housing units, apartments and rent-to-own homes to Fort Wayne’s south side will move forward after receiving federal tax credits, Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann announced Thursday. 

The project at the former Coca-Cola bottling plant, 1631 E. Pontiac St., and 31 single-family home sites was awarded about $11 million in Rental Housing Tax Credits over the next 10 years. The Fort Wayne project was one of 18 developments to receive the credits. 

"Rental Housing Tax Credits are one of the most important tools we have to encourage the production of affordable housing," Ellspermann said in a statement. "The 18 new projects will contribute greatly to the overall development and stabilization efforts of these communities."

Rental Housing Tax Credits provide incentives for developers to build affordable housing developments. 

The project, which will receive just under $1.2 million a year, calls for 31 one-, two- and three-bedroom units in the bottling plant and 31 rent-to-own single-family homes in the surrounding Renaissance Pointe neighborhood. The total cost of the project is $13.4 million.  

Vincent Village, a local nonprofit agency that provides transitional housing and advocacy for homeless families, is co-developing the project. It will offer services to tenants of the new developments, which are expected to start construction in January 2017 and be completed in the spring of 2018. 

"We will be in charge of supportive services ensuring that the tenants have access to referrals and knowledge of all the services that are available to them in this neighborhood, such as transportation, where food pantries are, where the YMCA is, the programs the Urban League has, etc.," said Denise Andorfer, executive director of Vincent Village. 

Vincent Village is based in the same neighborhood as the former bottling plant, Andorfer said, noting that the organization has operated for 26 years. It runs the area community center and the Vincent House Transitional Center and owns 33 nearby homes that it rents to formerly homeless residents. 

"The new project is exciting because the south side just has not had a lot of new housing development," Andorfer said. "To have some brand-new apartments in this neighborhood is fantastic. They’re one-, two- and three-bedroom units, so it will accommodate different sizes of families."

In addition to the tax credits, the city of Fort Wayne will contribute $250,000 in federal HOME funds and expects to bring a tax abatement proposal to the City Council, which would save Miller Valentine Group, the project’s developers, about $230,000, said Mary Tyndall, the city’s Community Development spokeswoman. The city is also selling the project’s property to the developer for a total of about $80,000, which is a discount of about $243,000, she said. 

The city has owned the former bottling plant since 2012. The structure was built in 1943. 

dgong@jg.net

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