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.

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