Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Developers eyeing downtown Ottawa apartment project

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 9/9/2013

A downtown senior housing renovation project could be in Ottawa’s future.

At its meeting Wednesday night, the Ottawa City Commission voted 5-0 to adopt a resolution supporting Topeka-based Pioneer Group Inc.’s plans to redevelop the historic Courthouse Square Apartments, 235 S. Main St., Ottawa. The city’s support was conditioned upon the developer complying with all city ordinances and regulations and following the building permit process.

A downtown senior housing renovation project could be in Ottawa’s future.

At its meeting Wednesday night, the Ottawa City Commission voted 5-0 to adopt a resolution supporting Topeka-based Pioneer Group Inc.’s plans to redevelop the historic Courthouse Square Apartments, 235 S. Main St., Ottawa. The city’s support was conditioned upon the developer complying with all city ordinances and regulations and following the building permit process.

Pioneer Group, which acquires and redevelops properties and neighborhoods for senior housing, has filed for a housing tax credit application with the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation for the acquisition and rehabilitation of the 26-unit Courthouse Square Apartments, according to city documents. The units will be targeted to income-qualified senior tenants age 62 and older and those who are disabled regardless of age, according to Pioneer Group’s application.

Under Pioneer Group’s proposal, each apartment would have individual central heating and cooling, refrigerator, range and range hood. The common areas would include lobby areas, a community room with a kitchen area, elevator and laundry room.

The developer also plans to seek local assistance through a tax rebate under the Neighborhood Revitalization Act, according to city documents.

Pioneer Group specializes in the preservation of historic structures it redevelops for affordable housing, according to its website. The developer has undertaken projects in Topeka, Leavenworth, Junction City, Salina and Columbia, Mo. The Courthouse Square Apartments building was constructed in 1915, according to the Franklin County Appraiser’s website. The building’s current owner is RPI Limited Partnership, St. Paul, Minn., and the property (land and building) has an appraised value of $611,900, according to the appraiser’s website.

The city’s support for the project would be used by the developer to try and secure financing for the project, Bob Bezek, city attorney, said. It’s common practice for developers of such projects to seek the governing body’s support up front, Bezek said.

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