An affordable housing project that previously flummoxed city officials has received the state tax credits needed to move forward toward development.
The project, headed by Advantix Development Corp., will mostly utilize properties at 601 E. Ricketts St. and 1124 S. Union St., near the Industrial Heritage Trail — placing 22 lease-to-purchase townhome units around the Ricketts Street location and 23 on South Union Street.
To assist the project, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority announced that Advantix was awarded $742,500 in Rental Housing Tax Credits, according to a city release Friday.
The RHTC program is meant to incentivize private developers and investors to provide affordable housing options, noted city officials.
“This project fits what are we trying to accomplish with urban infilling and revitalizing neighborhoods,” said Mayor Greg Goodnight in the release. “It redevelops property on the (Industrial Heritage) Trail, offering connectivity for the residents, while providing greatly needed affordable housing.”
Previously, the Kokomo Common Council in late October approved rezoning measures for the development project, called Trail Side Towne Homes.
The approval specifically rezoned the properties at 1124 S. Union St., 1215 S. Union St., 610 E. Ricketts St. and 720 E. Boulevard St. – a mix of residential, parks and recreation and high intensity industrial/ heavy manufacturing properties – to general multifamily residential.
In a previous interview, Advantix Chief Operating Officer Timothy Martin said it would likely be two years between receiving the financing and moving people into the townhomes.
The three-bedroom townhomes will be a mix of fully-accessible one-story townhomes and two-story structures, he said.
Kokomo City Plan Commission Executive Director Greg Sheline has said the project’s development plan approval case, another necessary step prior to construction, will likely be heard in the spring, at the earliest.
Overall, the development will include 45 units of affordable housing, meaning 60 percent of the area median income. Howard County’s median household income in 2016 was listed at $49,204, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Getting the project to this point, though, was an uneven process.
The plan commission hit a 4-4 deadlock during its first vote on the rezonings on Oct. 10, before voting in favor of the measures 6-1 on Oct. 23. The project received numerous variance approvals on Oct. 20 from the Kokomo City Board of Zoning Appeals.
The Common Council then approved the rezoning measures on Oct. 30, the final meeting before a Nov. 6 financing application deadline.
Plan commission members specifically heard complaints about the project during their numerous meetings, mostly from residents living near Gateway Park, which was largely destroyed in the 2013 tornado and again affected during 2016’s storm.
In large part, residents expressed concerns about their personal privacy once the housing project is constructed, and also about the broader issue of disappearing green space in the neighborhood.