The Housing Authority of Elgin is gearing up to move forward with a renovation and construction project after securing approval from its most crucial funding source.
The Illinois Housing Development Authority gave the green light this week to the Elgin agency's request for $1.5 million in low-income housing tax credits, which in turn will generate about $15 million in private equity investments, HAE Executive Director Damon Duncan said.
"That is the bigger part of the project," he said.
The nearly $25 million Elgin project consists of rehabbing Central Park Towers, an 11-story, 150-unit building at 120 S. State St., and building a six- to eight-story building next door, where the HAE owns a vacant building that will be demolished.
Elgin is among nine sites throughout Illinois that received approval for the tax credits, which will go to the IHDA board sometime this summer for final approval, said Rebecca Boykin, IHDA communications manager.
Additional funding sources include $7.5 million generated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's rental assistance demonstration program, Duncan said.
Demolition of the vacant building is expected to place within 60 days, and construction might start in the spring of 2014, he said. As part of the process, the HAE will petition the city of Elgin for a zoning change from single-family to multifamily, he added.
The entire project consists of apartments for people 55 and older.
"In a responsible way, we are creating quality housing for people with lower incomes -- we're not creating pockets of poverty where there's going to be high levels of crime and violence," said Duncan, adding he's attended neighborhood group meetings to address residents' concerns. "The elderly demographic is different."
Elgin sorely needs more rental units affordable to seniors, Mayor David Kaptain said.
"It's part of what every community wants to provide, and that's what (Duncan) is doing with this project," he said.
Kaptain said he and Duncan plan to tape an upcoming segment on the "Elgin Today with Jeff Myers" local TV show. "There's a lot of confusion about affordable housing, and we want people to know what's happening here," Kaptain said.
The new building will be environmentally friendly, with features such as porous concrete, a green roof, energy-saving appliances, water-saving fixtures, and more, Duncan said.
The project will not increase the overall number of affordable units -- which will remain 150 -- because most of the current efficiencies will be converted into one-bedrooms, he said. Up to 14 market-rate rental units will be added, he said.