Housing projects clear first hurdles

The former St. Bartholomew Catholic Church may receive a new lease on life as one of three pending affordable-housing proposals in Columbus.

Columbus City Council members approved all three projects as being located in economic revitalization areas, creating eligibility for tax abatements.

The Woda Group, a national affordable-housing developer in Ohio, is proposing an adaptive reuse of the property at Eighth and Sycamore streets, said Nick Surak, vice president of development for the company.

The company plans to demolish the former St. Bartholomew school and build two three-story apartment buildings on the property, one in the former school’s footprint and one where the parking lot is located. The former church would be retained as a gathering place for residents’ activities, Surak said.

The proposed redevelopment would have an estimated budget of $5.3 million and would create 34 rent-restricted apartments, the company’s proposal states.

Woda Group is applying for tax credits through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to finance the project, which is being developed with property owner Rick Sprague, Surak said. Sprague is calling the project Bartholomew on Sycamore.

The tax credit application is due Nov. 2 with announcement of recipients expected next spring, said Carl Malysz, Columbus community development director.

The tax credits may be sold on the open market as a way to finance affordable-housing projects, he said.

In addition to the Bartholomew on Sycamore Project, two other senior affordable-housing projects received the economic revitalization area designation:

Gateway Senior Village, proposed for the Columbus Pallet Corp. site at 1425 Michigan St. Jonesboro Investments Corp. and Tim Morgan, Jonesboro general partner, are proposing an estimated $10 million three-story apartment complex made up of 54 two-bedroom units for tenants age 55 and over. The company is partnering with Thrive Alliance on the affordable-housing project. Jonesboro is the company that is building the affordable-housing apartments on the former Golden Foundry site in Columbus that may start accepting tenants for move-in during November. The company is acquiring the pallet company’s property with the condition of receiving tax credits to help finance the project, Morgan said. Jonesboro also received initial approval to rezone the property to allow an apartment complex on the site.

Cottage Avenue Apartments, proposed for 1804 22nd St., a project of Developmental Services Inc. and Keller Development. The $9.5 million three-story apartment complex for seniors age 55 and older and those with disabilities would have 50 units and would include an outdoor garden area and parking lot. Two industrial buildings on the property would be torn down to make way for the complex. Councilman also approved updating the 22nd Avenue Revitalization plan, created in 2011, to reflect the Cottage Avenue proposal and add more strength to the project’s applications for tax credits.

Malysz emphasized that while all three projects are strong contenders, an estimated 54 projects from around the state will be competing for the tax credits, and recipients should be announced in the spring. Of the 54, only 16 to 18 projects will likely be chosen, Malysz said.

The Jonesboro proposal at Golden Foundry was turned down twice for the tax credits before being accepted on the third try last year.

About the housing projects

Three affordable housing projects in Columbus are seeking tax credits from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). They include:

  • Bartholomew on Sycamore LLC, at Eighth and Sycamore streets, two three-story buildings with 30 units being developed by the WODA group on the site of the former St. Bartholomew Catholic Church. The church will be used as an activities center, but the former school will be demolished to make way for the apartments. The project is being developed with Rick Sprague, property owner.
  • Gateway Senior Village, 1425 Michigan St., a three-story 54-unit apartment affordable housing development for seniors age 55 and older. The site is proposed by Jonesboro Investments Corp. and general partner Tim Morgan, in conjunction with Thrive Alliance. Jonesboro and Thrive Alliance have partnered on the Gateway Apartments on the former Golden Foundry site that are under construction.
  • Cottage Avenue Apartments, 1804 22nd St., a three-story 50-unit apartment complex for seniors age 55 and older or those with disabilities. The project is being developed by Developmental Services Inc. and Keller Development Inc.
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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.