Elgin OKs plan for housing project for seniors

 
 
Updated 7/15/2016 4:24 PM
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  • Buckeye Community Hope Foundation of Ohio wants to build a four-story, 60-unit residential senior living facility at 300 N. State St. in Elgin.

    Buckeye Community Hope Foundation of Ohio wants to build a four-story, 60-unit residential senior living facility at 300 N. State St. in Elgin. COURTESY OF C.M. LAVOIE & ASSOCIATES, INC.

The Elgin City Council this week approved a plan for affordable housing for seniors along Route 31 near downtown.

Fox River Crossing, a four-story, 60-unit project by the nonprofit Buckeye Community Hope Foundation of Ohio, would be at 300 N. State St., on the northwest corner with Lawrence Avenue. The property has been vacant since 1993.

The approximately $19 million project is to be funded mostly by federal housing tax credits disbursed by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, said David Petroni, vice president of business development for Buckeye's housing division. The state agency typically funds 18 to 25 developments per year -- depending on size and scope -- from among up to 60 applicants, he said.

Elgin has "a very strong, robust aging population" with a 20-percent growth expected in the next few years, Petroni said. The building will be open to residents 55 and older.

"It's developments like this that will allow our seniors to live in a nice place," Councilwoman Tish Powell said.

Councilman Terry Gavin said the project will enhance the Route 31 gateway into town, which "looks horrible."

The foundation plans to begin the tax credits application process in November. If successful, there will be a second step in March and final approval a few months later, Petroni said. If all goes well, construction might start in late 2017, but more realistically in 2018, he said.

The building includes one- and two-bedroom apartments with underground parking on the first floor and limited parking in back. The building will use solar energy and have "high-level sound attenuation" to deal with train horns, he said.

Responding to concerns from Mayor David Kaptain and other council members, Buckeye agreed to modify its plans for the entrance along Lawrence Avenue, which is on a steep hill and near railroad tracks, Community Development Director Marc Mylott said.

Drivers exiting the property will only be able to make a right, or go west, on Lawrence; drivers will be able to enter the property from both directions on Lawrence. The entrance along Route 31 will have right in/right out access.

Kaptain ventured that perhaps Pace would add a bus stop at that corner, which Petroni said would enhance the project.

Buckeye is finishing a 26-unit project in Pontiac, Illinois, Petroni said. The agency filed a federal lawsuit in April against Tinley Park, claiming village officials interfered with its project there.

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