Flaherty & Collins plans Kokomo apartments aimed at commuters

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Flaherty & Collins Properties plans to build an uscale apartment development in Kokomo costing more than $20 million, a project aimed at attracting professionals who now commute to the Howard County city.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. on Tuesday approved tax credits worth $5.2 million for the Indianapolis-based firm, which wants to build 178 high-end units in the former Northern Indiana Supply Co. building, which is near the $9 million municipal baseball stadium that's under construction. The stadium will be used by the Kokomo Jackrabbits, part of the summer-collegiate Prospect League.

The state tax credits will be met with a $15 million investment by the developer and $6.9 million from the city. The city's investment includes donation of the land and building.

"This is a vote of confidence in Kokomo," said John Mutz, former Lt. Gov. and chairman of the IEDC's policy committee, which reviewed the tax credits package. "I'm floored really."

Flaherty & Collins President Jerry Collins told the IEDC that the firm follows jobs, and there are about 9,000 people a day who commute into Kokomo. City spokesman David Tharp said that while Kokomo has benefitted from Chrysler's reinvestment in its transmission plants, the city also has a lot of workers in health care and education. IU-Kokomo is the fastest-growing campus in the IU system, he said.

Collins said the apartments will be high-end, similar to the Cosmopolitan and other apartment buildings in Indianapolis. Rental rates will be around $1.15 per square foot, compared with Kokomo's current high of about 88 cents per square foot, he said.

The tax credit granted to Flaherty & Collins is known as the “dinosaur tax” and is rarely used. It was initially created to encourage redevelopment of very large vacant manufacturing buildings. The firm was granted the maximum credit because the building is more than 100 years old.

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