City backs senior housing development


A proposed $12.5 million senior housing development in Seymour has received financial backing from the city.

City council members voted 5-2 on Monday night to provide up to $51,000 in local funding and a tax abatement for the construction of Crossroads Village, a 64-unit affordable apartment complex at 500 S. Poplar St.

The $51,000 will be used to install new sidewalks around the 2.2 acre property. Sidewalks in the area are very dilapidated and need replaced, Mayor Craig Luedeman said.

The investment won’t have to be made this year, he added.

“I don’t think it will be that hard because I don’t see this happening until 2020 anyway,” he said. “By the time everything goes, you can write this in the budget and you’re good to go, so I don’t see it being an issue that way.”

Councilman Matt Nicholson said he thinks the city will benefit more from the project than what it’s investing.

“I think we’ll more than make up on taxes in the first year what we’ll spend on sidewalks,” he said.

Councilmen Jim Rebber and Dave Earley voted against the requests.

Both said it’s unfair for the council to provide financial support to one developer and not others.

“I like the project, but I think we are opening a can of worms here,” Earley said.

The requests are the same ones Thrive Alliance and partner Jonesboro Investments made when trying to get approval for the project last year.

The company has brought the project to the council twice before, first in 2017 and then in 2018, but it failed to get city approval due to concerns the property was contaminated from its former uses as the Seymour Woolen Mill and later Seymour Electronics.

The property has undergone environmental cleanup for more than a decade.

Rebber voted against the project at that time, stating he had concerns with drainage on the property and also about the city’s liability in regards to the environmental cleanup.

A site plan for the project calls for a four-story building on the northeast corner of the property with 24 one-bedroom units and 40 two-bedroom units. Designs include an outdoor gathering area for residents and 80 parking spots.

The housing will be for residents 55 or older who are low to moderate income.

By granting financial support and tax abatement, the city is helping boost the project’s chances of receiving state housing tax credits, said Darrell Unsworth, housing development manager for Thrive Alliance.

The senior living project will become a model that others will want to replicate throughout the state, Unsworth added.

“We think this is going to be a great project both for us and the community,” he said. “So we’re hoping you’ll help us get there.”

If the application to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority next month is unsuccessful, the project will not move forward and the city’s support will no longer be needed.

“Basically, if they don’t get the grant, then they’re not asking for the abatement,” Luedeman said. “But they can’t apply for the grant without the intent of the city, so that’s what we’re doing.”

Before the council can officially approve the tax abatement, it will have to amend city code so residential projects can qualify.

“City code says abatement for rehabilitation of residential real estate does not qualify,” said city attorney Rodney Farrow. “That’s been on the books here since 1985 I think.”

State law was amended since then, however, to allow certain residential projects, like Crossroads Village, to qualify for tax abatement, he added.

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