Friday, August 29, 2014


I took a drive around northeast Carbondale to look at some of the homes Endswell has built in the area in the past few years.  Though none of them are the apartment complex that the developer plans to for the Walnut Street Baptist Church building, all of the properties are very nice single family dwellings:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Walnut Street Baptist Church

Walnut Street Baptist Church from the parking lot. Streets run directly in front of the church and to the right of the flat roofed addition, making it quite hard for a growing church to expand in any direction. From what I have heard, the addition on the right will be relatively easy to renovate into apartments. It is the older church building proper that will prove difficult as it will need extensive gutting.

I gather that the tax credits and financing Endswell wants from the state are contingent on the building keeping 20 of the apartments for lower income residents, with two at market rate. However, after fifteen years, all of the apartments may be rented out at market rate.

A major problem with the location is the lack of parking. The Civic Center already has problems with not enough parking for some events and adding the new development will put a strain on the already limited number of spaces. A couple of possibilities are for the city to rent or buy the old Verizon lot just west of Univeristy or, a more expensive alternative, build a multi-level parking lot next to the civic center.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Low Income Housing Proposal Approved

It looks as if city council approved supporting Endswell's proposed redeveloping of the Walnut Street Baptist Church building for low income housing with 8000 square feet of retail space on the first floor.

The next stage apparently is approaching the state for funding and tax credits and Endswell needs support shown from the community before the state will award funding. Unfortunate that this is not a viable project without some form of tax incentive.

Carbondale Tourism Ribbon Cutting

Today at 4 p.m.:

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting at Carbondale Tourism Bureau’s new location, 4 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 27. The tourism office and welcome center recently moved to a new location at 126 S. Illinois Ave.

Carbondale Tourism is a not-for-profit organization responsible for marketing the community as a tourist destination, for serving and welcoming visitors and for coordinating tourism-related activities and efforts. The ribbon cutting is part of a open house for the bureau.

Representatives of the Chamber, City and Carbondale Tourism will participate in the ceremony. The event is open to the public.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Walnut Street Baptist Church Repurposing

Jane Adams has some comments on her blog regarding the proposed conversion of the Walnut Street Baptist Church into a block of 22 apartments, 20 for low income residents and 2 for rent at market rate:

After 92 years in the heart of Downtown, the Walnut Street Baptist Church is moving west, to a site near Midland Inn. The church building is on Carbondale’s Register of Historic Places, and shares its parking lot with the Civic Center.

A St. Louis company, Endswell, wants to develop the property as a 22-unit apartment building to be called the “Downtown Lofts.” The redevelopment will be expensive, and they believe that without Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) support they will not be able to undertake the project. Endswell needs a letter of support from the Mayor to be eligible for IHDA support.

The IHDA provides Low Income Housing Tax Credits as well as loans for limited income housing. In this development, I understand that Endswell proposes to keep 2 units market rate; the remaining 22 would be limited income.

I would be much happier with the project if the numbers were the other way around: 20 apartments at market rate and 2 for low income but I gather Endswell could not apply for IHDA support without a significant percentage of the apartments targets to limited income occupants, meaning that the facility would likely not be profitable on its own merits.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Though the last two Hardee's in Carbondale, one on the east side and one on the west, closed several years ago, there are rumors floating about that a new Hardee's will open in the empty DiMaggio's pizza location.Though I would prefer a non-chain restaurant to open there, I don't eat out much as it is so mine is not the voice they should listen to as the chain appear doing quite well in Carbondale.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Four Council Seats Open

In case you might be interested in running for city council, four seats come open next year. From an email sent out by the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce:

    • The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce encourages members of the business community to consider serving our community in this way. Four seats on the City Council will be up for election in 2015:
      • Councilwoman Jane Adams
      • Councilman Lance Jack
      • Councilwoman Corene McDaniel
      • Acting Mayor Don Monty