FARRELL, PA. Housing project moves forward

The plan is to raze the Steel City complex and replace it with more attractive units.
FARRELL, Pa. -- The last two pieces of the financial puzzle are in place for the demolition and rebuilding of the Steel City Terrace apartment complex on Spearman Avenue.
The Mercer County Housing Authority, which owns the complex, is trying to rebuild it primarily with financing from the federal Hope VI program.
L. DeWitt Boosel, authority executive director, told his board of directors Wednesday that the last two pieces of financing have been promised for the first phase of that work.
Boosel said the authority has received verbal notice that the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has approved tax credits for the project that the authority can sell to banks, insurance companies and others seeking federal tax breaks.
Those credits should generate $4,803,487 in project revenue, Boosel said.
The authority has already secured $2,517,418 in federal Hope VI grant funds for the project and will put in $1,440,000 of its own money to complete the financing, bringing the total project cost to just over $8.7 million, Boosel said.
Temporary financing: The Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh has also approved a $422,768 grant to be used as temporary financing for the construction of 53 rental and 12 home ownership housing units on the Steel City site, he said.
The plan is to raze the old 100-unit barracks-style apartments and replace them on site with more attractive units in groups of four or less, some of which would be sold to the occupants.
A second phase would involve buying surrounding properties and building another 70 units of housing in the surrounding neighborhood.
The total project could cost as much as $20 million.
Boosel said the authority hopes to be able to break ground on the first phase next year.
Senior housing: In other matters, Boosel also announced the authority has received the financial assistance it needs to build a 10-unit apartment complex for senior citizens off Butler Street in Mercer.
The authority is putting up $185,652 for that project and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency has said it will set aside $714,000 for the work.
Ground could be broken on that project in 2002 as well, Boosel said, adding that the authority hopes to add another 10 units to the site in the future.

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