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Posted: October 21, 2009 12:01 a.m.

Harristown to get senior living facility

Apartment-style living boasts rent based on resident income

 The Harristown Neighborhood will be getting a $9 million affordable senior housing facility in late 2010 or early 2011.

 Affordable Equity Partners out of Missouri is developing the facility, Harristown Park, which will be located at the intersection of Lee and Reynolds streets. It will have between 60 to 70 units and rent will be based on income, starting as low as $175 a month. City Planning Director Randy Vinson said the plan is to have a two-story apartment-like complex and townhomes.

 Mayor Kim Carter said the project is a milestone in the city’s efforts to draw development and battle blight.

 "This is very, very important to our Urban Redevelopment Plan and addressing housing blight in this community, and it’s certainly going to help our senior community," Carter said, "so way to go council … this is a milestone."

 The company had announced plans for this facility in April, but affordable housing facilities are only profitable if the developer can receive tax credits from the state. Carter said that the company recently learned that the Department of Community Affairs would be providing those tax credits and construction would probably start next fall.

 Vinson said many companies looking for credits aren’t high-quality developers, so Carter and Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams visited two AEP facilities in other cities to make sure they had good facilities. Vinson said the city completed their URP early to give AEP a better shot at getting the credits.

 "To the credit of Mayor and Councilwoman Williams, they really did their homework and we worked extra hard to get the URP in place, because we knew we wanted them," he said.

 The facility will be for residents 55 and older who make 60 percent or less of the area median income, which is $71,200 for a family of four. The facility will employ two to three people and will include recreation facilities and other shops like a hair salon.

 Carter said housing of all types is important, but particularly affordable senior housing, because that population is increasing and many seniors are on fixed incomes. She hopes that this first development will spark more housing and commercial developments in the city’s redevelopment zones.

 "This is just huge to get senior housing right out the gate. Once we get one private investment things will start that domino effect," she said.

 Hawnethia Williams was excited because she has made improving housing one of her top priorities in office.

 "The need for quality, affordable housing is one of the main problems in my district. I’ve been working closely on the senior housing development that will be in Harristown, and I’m working with our local housing team to address concerns in this community," Williams said previously.

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