TWG again seeking tax credits for delayed church project

Church German Road 2col

A locally based developer has reapplied for affordable tax credits to help finance a project involving a historic church on the far-east side that the owner had threatened to demolish.

TWG Development LLC is among 50 developers who have submitted applications to the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority seeking a total of $39 million in federal assistance for various projects.

The federal credits are awarded annually to developers to incentivize private investment in affordable housing. Investors buy the credits, generating revenue to fund projects.

The program is highly competitive. Out of 62 proposals submitted in Indiana last year, only 16 were chosen to receive the credits. Projects chosen to receive the credits typically are announced in February.

TWG again is seeking the incentives to lower the cost of the potential redevelopment of the St. John United Church of Christ building and land that partially sits in Cumberland.

Following a drawn-out drama concerning the structure’s fate, TWG agreed in September 2016 to purchase the building and land. The deal, however, was contingent upon the awarding of the tax credits for the project.

TWG’s $10.1 million proposal to convert the church into a 60-unit senior housing complex wasn’t among the 16 chosen for credits last year. Still, TWG has kept the property under contract and has maintained site control while it again awaits another round of selections.

But in the meantime, TWG has changed its plans for the site. The project still calls for 60 units of senior housing, not in the church building, but to be constructed on the north end of the property, said Jonathan Ehlke, TWG’s development director.

TWG, in turn, plans to sell the church for $1 to a not-for-profit that he declined to name, which will convert the building into its headquarters.

“A requirement of the sale is that the church be renovated, and the exterior of the building remains unchanged,” Ehlke said in an email.

The total development cost of $10.2 million does not include renovation work on the church, he said. TWG is seeking $886,849 in affordable tax credits, according to information posted on the state housing authority’s website.

For more than a century, the land in question has been the site of the Tudor Gothic Revival-style church, which once was known as Deutsche Evangelische St. Johannes Kirche. It opened in 1855, initially serving German immigrants who farmed the surrounding area. That structure was replaced later that century, and the current building opened in 1914.
Amid dwindling membership, the congregation in October 2016 conducted its last service in the church. The owners wanted to demolish the church to make the land more attractive to sell, but TWG stepped in. The congregation continues to meet at a temporary site, the Muesing Activity Center at Prospect Street and Carroll Road, until funds can be raised to build a new church.

Overall, TWG is one of five developers seeking credits for Indianapolis-area projects.

Flaherty & Collins Properties is pursuing a total of $1.8 million in credits for two mixed-income projects in midtown totaling $21.2 million.

In an $11 million project, the former five-story United Way of Central Indiana building at 3901 N. Meridian St. would be converted into 50 affordable units for seniors and 20 market-rate apartments.

Flaherty & Collins also plans to build a $10.3 million project nearby containing 68 mixed-income units in two buildings. One, on the northeast corner of 38th and Illinois streets, would be anchored by a 25,000-square-foot grocery. The second would be on the same block but to the north, at the southeast corner of 39th and Illinois streets. It would include 10,000 square feet of first-floor retail.

At 2811 E. 10th St., near North Rural, the not-for-profit Partners In Housing Development Corp. is proposing to add 72 units to Mozingo Place, in an $11.6 million project.

And Fishers-based RealAmerica Development LLC wants to build its $14.2 million, 70-unit Southpointe Village project in Fishers.

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