Developers are looking to build a new four-story affordable housing complex for residents 55 and older in Seymour.
The proposed 72 one- and two-bedroom unit, Crossroads Village Apartments, will be constructed on 2.2 acres of vacant property at 500 S. Poplar St. if the project receives support from the city and state.
That property is south of Schneck Medical Center and once was the site of the Seymour Woolen Mill and later Seymour Electronics.
Environmental investigations of the property began in 2006, when contaminants, including petroleum and chlorinated solvents, were discovered in the soil and later in the groundwater.
In 2015, environmental cleanup and remediation were conducted to eliminate those contaminants.
Representatives from Jonesboro Investments Corp. and Thrive Alliance presented their proposal to Seymour City Council during a meeting Monday night. They are requesting $50,000 from the city for sidewalk improvements around the property and property tax abatement.
Tim Morgan, president of Jonesboro Investments Corp., said the project is being submitted to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority for housing tax credits, which is a competitive process for applicants throughout the state. Typically, one in four applications is funded, he said.
“In order to score well, to be effective and ultimately successful with this type of application, a partnership needs to precede in cooperation and support from the city,” Morgan said. “One of the ways that an application scores successfully is in regard to two specific components that have city participation.”
One is a conditional commitment of $50,000 that only would be used if the state application is successful. The money would fund sidewalk improvements adjacent to the project, Morgan said.
The second request is for a real estate property tax abatement.
“That allows us, in delivering an affordable housing development, to put a cap on what would otherwise be a higher real estate tax payment based on the valuation of the project and allow the project to proceed at a lower rent level,” Morgan said.
Rent costs are expected to be between $525 and $700 per unit, he said. The housing will be income based, so there is an income range that a tenant would have to be within to qualify.
“We’re not Section 8, and we’re not market rate,” Morgan said. “We’re sort of in the middle, where folks would make anywhere from say $25,000 to $50,000. As the median income goes up or down, it doesn’t typically move a lot. Our rents could go up $10 or we would have to drop $10 in relation to that median income.”
Tenants also would have to be 55 years of age or older to qualify.
Morgan said to add more value to the project, developers are in the process of discussing a partnership with Schneck Medical Center to provide supportive services to residents of the proposed housing development.
“We hope to provide a number of services to those residents in a programming or supportive services context,” Morgan said.
Mark Lindenlaub, executive director of Thrive Alliance in Columbus, said a project like this is greatly needed in the Seymour area.
Thrive Alliance once was known as Aging and Community Services and has delivered support services to people with disabilities and seniors in Jackson County so they can remain in their home since the late 1970s, Lindenlaub said.
Six years ago, Aging and Community Services partnered with Housing Partnerships, forming Thrive Alliance, to provide the resources to improve clients homes.
“Through our housing services expertise, we have been doing housing development across our five-county service area,” he said.
In Jackson County, the agency’s involvement has been limited to Seymour’s homeowner repair program, which is funded through state grant money, and Jackson County United Way’s Day of Caring.
“We’ve really been looking for an opportunity to have a larger impact, positive impact, on both the community as well as the lives of clients we can serve,” Lindenlaub said. “We think that the Crossroads Village project will do that.”
Councilman John Reinhart asked if a market analysis had been completed to determine how quickly the development might fill up.
“We’ve got a new apartment complex out on the north side now that was supposed to fill up but is sitting pretty vacant right now,” he said.
The market study, which is required in the state application, was expected to be completed Tuesday.
Council President Jim Rebber said he was concerned with drainage in the area and asked how the development would impact flooding.
“We would propose an underground detention. … With that system, we would meet the pre-development peak flow as a post-development project, so we would have every intention to meet the code, and we believe we can do that with underground storage,” Morgan said.
Reinhart said the project will require several variances to address issues, including zoning and parking. The property is currently zoned for single-family residential and if approved by the city plan commission would change to R-2 zoning to allow for apartments.
The proposed project is scheduled to be heard by the plan commission at 7 p.m. Thursday at Seymour City Hall.
“We do not have our zoning approval nor do we have our development plan approval, but the way the hearing was scheduled, we were here before this body before Thursday evening,” Morgan said. “To be clear, we still have a long way to go, but this was our first step.
“I wouldn’t want to mislead council that it is a certainty by any stretch,” he added. “That even with the support, that it would be funded. It’s very competitive.”
Rebber said he would share the information with Mayor Craig Luedeman, who did not attend Monday’s meeting due to a business trip to Japan.
“He’s the one in charge of the budgeting process,” Rebber said of Luedeman.
Reinhart said the city is in the middle of preparing its 2018 budget.
“We already know we’re dealing with a budget that’s not real rosy next year,” he said. “And we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to fund some things or what we’re going to cut, so I think this is something we’re going to have to address in our finance meetings.”
Any consideration is better than none, Morgan said.