Developer tells plans for housing project|[02/15/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 15, 2008

For seniors like Jo Vaughan, easy access for laundry and extra storage space are important.

“I’m happy where I am, but a dishwasher, microwave and disposal … I’d like those things,” Vaughan said.

Such amenities, plus spacious bedrooms, top-of-the-line electric appliances and exercise areas will be the likeliest draw for the Renaissance Plaza senior apartment complex, a proposed three-tier development on vacant land between Battlefield Inn and Motel 6 on I-20 Frontage Road near the Vicksburg National Military Park entrance.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Integra Development Partners of Raleigh, N.C., is proposing the development and presented its plans at a required public hearing Thursday. The same firm is also renovating the Circle Lake Apartments on Hope Street, to be renamed Madison Glen.

One-bedroom apartments in the $5 million project to be financed by income-based housing tax credits from the state will measure 1,000 square feet and rent for $460 to $555 monthly, project developer Bill Cramer said.

Rents for larger, 1,200-square-foot units will be in the $555 to $665 range, using the current area median income of $48,500 as a baseline. Also incorporated into preliminary plans are one- and two-bedroom spaces that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Features to appear in each unit for qualifying applicants 50 and older will include lighted ceiling fans and covered porches. If financing allows, Cramer said, plans for a central laundry area will give way to each apartment having a washer and dryer inside.

“We’re invested in this,” Cramer said. “This will be a waiting-list type property. People will want to live there.”

Another feature will be its compliance with newer city building codes regarding fire safety sprinklers and equipment, as well as state-approved elevators near lobbies in the central office, all impressive to North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield, one of three people along with Vaughan who attended the meeting.

“The average senior citizen will come from a two-bedroom to three-bedroom. Seventy percent will want nothing less than a two-bedroom,” Mayfield said. “I really like what I see.”

Its day-to-day operation will be handled by a third-party to be determined later, Cramer said. Integra has to submit the full tax credit application to the Mississippi Home Corporation by March 7.

Under regulations adopted by MHC for 2007-08, developments must have a minimum of 20 percent occupancy by households with incomes less than 50 percent of area median income, or 40 percent occupancy by households with incomes under 60 percent of area median income. Income limits are adjusted for household size.

Distributed annually by MHC, the federally created Housing Tax Credit program provides credits or reductions in tax liability each year for 10 years for owners and investors in affordable-income rental housing, based on the costs of development and the number of qualified affordable-income units.

Land on which it sits is under contract to be purchased from its listed owner, Vivian J. Atwood et al, Cramer said. In addition to having property secured, its application for the HTC incentives also hinge on zoning compliance, permanent financing which entails finding equity partners who will sell the tax credits and documentation of the public hearing.

As for the company’s Circle Lake project, Cramer said a new construction company is working to finish improvements to the complex by November. Tenants may be allowed to move in as phases complete during that time, Cramer said.

Integra received nearly $500,000 in tax credits to finance the rehab. The incentives at use there stem from more than $150 million in low-income tax credits flowing from the multi-tiered Gulf Opportunity Zone, the five-state area of federally declared disaster counties after the 2005 hurricane season.