Senior housing project denied funding

Old Springfield hospital site doesn’t get tax credits for senior homes

Neighborhood Housing Partnership of Greater Springfield and the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation planned to build the 80-unit Community Gardens on the 11.5-acre former Community Hospital site on Burnett Road and East High Street. The proposal is now stalled.

>>LEARN MORE: Springfield city commissioners approve plans for hospital site

>>RELATED: Springfield senior housing project delayed

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency announced the projects it will fund on Wednesday morning and didn’t select the Springfield development. NHP had applied for $800,000 in competitive tax credits that developers sell to raise money for the project.

The first phase of the project called for building 48 units and opening in 2017.

A second Clark County project, a $5.9 million planned renovation at the 48-unit Sunrise Terrace in New Carlisle, requested $524,999 in tax credits but was also rejected.

The announcement is disappointing, NHP Executive Director Tina Koumoutsos said. The organization plans to meet with other stakeholders in the coming week to discuss the future of the project.

“It’s too early to discuss our plans for the site as of (Wednesday) morning,” Koumoutsos said.

The facility already has more than 90 people who want to move into the 55-and-older complex, she said.

“We have a huge waiting list,” Koumoutsos said. “It’s a project that really deserves to get built.”

The recipients are selected based on program goals and policies, including affordability, location and development team experience.

The Community Gardens project was one of 21 applicants for non-urban housing development money. The proposal scored 108 points, according to competitive scoring results released by the state housing agency.

Six projects scored 111 points in their category and all received tax credits. Another project scored 109 points, but wasn’t selected, while NHP’s proposal tied with three other projects — one of which was selected for tax credits.

The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing — a non-profit that works with private and public housing developers — reviewed the applications, Koumoutsos said.

“They felt we had a very competitive proposal going into the process,” Koumoutsos said. “I think we’re all pretty surprised this morning.”

The organization purchased the property from Community Mercy Health Partners for $100,000 earlier this year. The “pocket neighborhood” development will include smaller clusters of eight to 12 homes and green space within the larger complex. The units will also include an attached garage and will be fully accessible with no steps for seniors.

The city of Springfield supported the senior housing project, including $250,000 in federal housing money and a letter of support from city commissioners, Community Development Director Shannon Meadows said.

“It’s an area prime for redevelopment,” Meadows said. “The city is quite supportive of redevelopment plans and will continue to work with developers and continue to work NHP as the owner of that property.”

Last year, city commissioners approved a community reinvestment area in the east side neighborhood, including the former hospital site, to make tax incentives available to developers. It also covers the Cole Manor public housing complex, the Burnett Plaza shopping center, a medical office building and the former Schaefer Middle School site.

Depending on the size and scale of the project, developers could receive abatements for 12 to 15 years with the percentage of the property tax break negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

The planned senior living community will be an asset to the neighborhood, said Springfield resident Brandon Wirth, who lives in the Williamsburg Village Apartment complex across the street. He was disappointed it wasn’t selected.

“It’d be great to have something added into that field over there,” Wirth said. “Anything’s better than just having the space go unused.”

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