Two projects on tap for Near-North area

November 14, 2013
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A couple of residential developments, one a senior housing complex and the other a small mixed-use project, are in the works for the Near-North area.

whitsett senior
                              illinois 225pxLast month, TWG Development LLC received approval from a city zoning board to convert a vacant building (right) at 1352 N. Illinois St. into 63 affordable senior-housing units.

With the boom of downtown multifamily construction, which is attracting millennials and empty-nesters, the elderly are getting “squeezed out,” TWG partner Joe Whitsett said.

TWG plans to invest $9.6 million by seeking federal tax credits to help finance the project. Construction wouldn’t start until after February, when the developer will find out whether it received the credits.

Built in 1929, the four-story structure formerly housed the Fame Laundry Co. TWG purchased it from the locally based Michaelis Corp. home-restoration company.

Plans call for the construction of a four-story addition to the south of the building, bringing the total square footage of the project to 71,300 square feet.

Meantime, Hamid Abbaspour, president of the Dr. Aziz pharmacy and medical clinic on East 82nd Street, is proposing a 5,000-square-foot mixed-use development at 2301 N. Meridian St.

The two-story building would be constructed on a vacant lot where Sherry’s Nightclub formerly stood.

Abbaspour is proposing a family practice or urgent care center that Dr. Aziz would operate on the first floor, with either residential or office above.

“We feel like this would be a nice addition to the other developments that are happening there,” he said. “This is going to be a beautiful building right in the neighborhood.”

The Metropolitan Development Commission’s hearing examiner is set to hear the proposal to rezone the property Thursday afternoon.

  • Cost per unit!
    63 units for $9.6 million = $152,000 per unit = insane = a waste of public money. Liveable apartment buildings can be purchased for $25-30k/unit. Liveable houses in Indy can be purchased for $30,000.
  • I'll believe it when I see it
    The Whitsett Group (now calling itself "TWG Development") has a penchant for announcing projects that can only be funded by taxpayer subsidies, then either failing to start work, or simply applying half-effort. Take for instance the College & Michigan project that has gone through multiple variations and press releases, and still has not broken ground. Or the beautiful should-be-luxury high rise at North and College that mysteriously became low-income housing. Always be skeptical of businesses that change their name... often a PR move to separate themselves from their bad reputation.
  • Huh?
    What the heck are you talking about, Skeptic? Another of those who spout information just for the sake of being the vocal minority... ridiculous! TWG has several VERY nice projects under construction at the time and has quickly become a MAJOR player in the redevelopment of downtown. Not sure what "luxury high-rise" you are talking about, but the redevelopment of the former industrial building at 8th and Capitol (800 Capitol) is, and has ALWAYS been, designated as a MIXED INCOME project. To suggest that it is "low income" is simply not true. It is a mix of market-rate and Sec.42 or, income BASED housing. Please stick to the facts when you want to talk about development in our city.
  • Tax Credits can be a Catalyst
    I think the IBJ should provide it's readers with a breakdown of how Tax Credits work. Apparently people are under the impression that the City is cutting a check to these developers... they are not. Tax Credits work by focusing on properties that are either under-utilized, vacant, or currently providing nothing to the community or tax base to help spur development. They can help jumpstart a project by providing a grace period + eased tax hit to the Developer at no true "cost" to the city. It will more than make up those "lost revenues" once the "Tax Credit window" expires and Property Taxes would begin on that property. Plus, you'd get a rehab'ed building, more residential traffic, construction money, and eventual input into the Tax Base. Pretty simple idea actually. The alternative is a bldg sits empty and NOBODY benefits.
    • Lots Of Luck
      I worked in that building when it was a successful vending company in the 1970's. The closest restaurants are 2 fast food on 16th, there is no parking for 63 units if the seniors still drive, no groceries within walking distance, 2 fast moving north and south streets bordering it, and no green space, more of less neighbors. It would be better used as a lab or storage facility for IU Health, which has taken over the area. Please think before you build!
    • CreamCrimson Comment
      No offense, but the comments by CC are only barely accurate. It's true that Section 42 Tax Credits are not a 'handout' from the city, but it's more complicated than presented by CC. I'd recommend that interested readers go to Wikipedia or Google and research Section 42 FEDERAL Tax Credits.
    • Grrrrr
      And I think that some people need to be educated on the difference between " affordable / low-income" and subsidized. Section 42 applies to affordable housing. Section 8 refers to subsidized housing. Section 42 is NOT subsidized housing.
    • What r u taking about?
      From your own comment you don't know how the low income housing tax credit works. It's a federal program and has nothing to do with tax abatements. The developers receive the credits from the state through a competitive process and sell them to tax credit investors, usually banks. The sale of the credits provide equity for the development of the multifamily housing. In turn the developer has a lower mortgage to secure and is mandated by the government to maintain the rents at low levels and only rent to low income individuals. It's an IRS program.
    • Luxury Highrise
      The "luxury highrise" at North and College was not a Whitsett development. It started being built by the same company that built the condos at Mass and College, and then it went belly up. Whitsett came in and rescued it, finished it, and moved some of its offices into it. College & Michigan is a question mark, but the rest of your argument is invalid, Skeptic. -- As for Section 42, you are banging your head against the wall. I have tried, time and again, on here to inform people about them, but they still don't get it.
    • Jo Ellen
      Maybe you should revisit. The Walgreen's at 16th now has a mini-grocery with fresh foods. The Methodist Hospital complex has healthy-dining options inside. The restaurant in the Stutz is just a three-block walk. Foundry Provisions is at 16th/Alabama. Central Library and the restaurants nearby on Penn are a 10-15 minute walk.
    • Luck indeed
      Re to Jo Ellen Flynn: "The closest restaurants are 2 fast food on 16th" - Tip Top is right behind this building, just across the alley. "there is no parking" - additional parking is part of this plan. "2 fast moving north and south streets bordering it" yes and no - this property does not border Capitol Ave, but sadly the front door is inches from Illinois Street which is quite dangerous to pedestrians. "no groceries within walking distance" Kroger is a 15 minute walk, Walgreens has a few aisles of groceries. "green space" it's a 10 minute walk to the downtown canal. "neighbors" - there are several residential buildings in this area. Brutal facts aside I do somewhat agree in spirit with your comments. There are restaurants but not many, grocery store is walkable but it's on the far end of a walkable range. Capitol and Illinois are dangerous roads for pedestrians. They way we change all these things is to get people to move to an area, to stake a claim and take an interest in a community and make it their own. Restaurants and grocery can be built. Dangerous roads can be calmed. I think this is a fantastic project and can't wait to see how it and future projects can help convert this corner of the city from a run-down industrial area into a place families want to live.
      • vs
        Does this help? Section 8- this program typically helps those that are already receiving social security, disability or some other type of fixed income. Sometimes these people simply do not work because of family obligations. There is an approval process and once approved a very long wait list. The applicant must find housing that will accept the section 8 voucher. Once move-in has occurred- the landlord receives a check directly from Section 8. Thus the resident is paying $0 (or very little) out of pocket for rent. Section 42 works a little different- here is a great situation. There is a worker at one of the downtown hotels. He works 40 plus hours a week- making minimum wage or slightly higher. Weekly take home pay is maybe $325? A typical, nice, one bedroom apartment in Indy is $550-$600 (downtown you are lucky to find one under $800) He would be spending almost 50% of his monthly pay just to cover rent. What about utilities, food, etc? Because he was approved for the Section 42 program- he has a nice apartment downtown (can walk to work!)that is affordable to him (usually 1 bedrooms range in the $275 to $450- depending on your income level) Now doesn't it make sense that we provide affordable housing to those that work in our downtown hotels, retail and restaurants- the dishwashers, the maids, the sales clerk? Our downtown is a very vibrant and well sought after location for national conventions and sporting events. Do you really think it could be done without these type of jobs and employees? Hope this helps...

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