Aeolian developer plans to start work by end of July

Published 11:44 pm Friday, June 8, 2012

A developer working to refurbish the former Aeolian apartment complex at Cherry and Clay streets has closed on a sale of the property and expects to start work by the end of July.

“We’re looking for all types of construction to work in there,” said Jeremy Mears, of Houston-based Brownstone, which purchased the 15,000-square-foot building from New Valley LLC in late May, according to land records. A price was not disclosed.

Mears said he expects the city to issue a building permit to the development by late July and work to start soon thereafter.

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To renovate the structure, Brownstone won $749,045 in affordable tax credits, or HTCs, from the Mississippi Home Corporation in September.

Built in 1924, the building was a staple in the local rental market until it closed in 1991.

Also, Mears expects to secure tax credits for historic property renovation to defray the $8 million reconstruction.

Plans call for a massive interior transformation of the complex’s four levels to feature 60 one- and two-bedroom units for seniors outfitted for cable television and Internet. Tenants will have on-site storage space and a media room and a salon.

A 42-space parking lot for tenants is planned in a vacant lot a block away, at Cherry and China streets, to be redeveloped with a retaining wall.

“It’ll be expensive, but it’s gonna be nice,” Mears said.

Rents funded by HTCs are paid on a sliding scale based on a county’s area income. Those eligible must earn less than 60 percent of that mark, which was $30,855 in Warren County for a family of four, based on the most recent income-related census data. Minimum age for eligible tenants will be 62, as per federal guidelines for senior apartments funded by HTCs.

In April, Brownstone applied for HTCs to redevelop the former Carr Central building, located farther south on Cherry Street. Those plans call for a 72-unit complex for low- and moderate-income renters. MHC expects to announce tax credit awards statewide by early September.