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HERMITAGE, PA. Project aims to provide rentals for senior citizens



Published: Sun, August 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The authority has identified eight potential locations for the project.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

HERMITAGE, Pa. -- The Mercer County Housing Authority is looking for a contractor-developer to help build an apartment complex for the city's senior citizens.

The authority will accept proposals from prospective developers until Aug. 30. The proposals will be opened by the authority at 2 p.m.

The city and the authority formed a partnership in September to develop some senior citizen rental housing with the authority offering to put up $15,000 for market and feasibility studies and at least $180,000 in construction funds.

City officials had been talking about such a project for some time, said city manager Gary Hinkson.

City commissioners have pointed out the need for rental apartments for elderly residents after receiving a number of requests for that type of development, Hinkson said.

The city and authority said at the time that planning, financing and construction of a complex could take at least two years, officials said.

L. DeWitt Boosel, authority executive director, said work on the plan has made some progress.

The market study showed there is demand for a complex of up to 75 rental units, although there is no commitment to build a facility of that size right now, he said.

The request for proposals puts the project size at between 60 and 75 apartments.

The size will depend on the site chosen, Boosel said, noting that MCHA has identified eight potential locations for the complex, most of them near the center of the city's business district.

What's required

Trying to put the facility close to grocery stores, banks and medical offices to make it easy for renters to get to those services is one of the site criteria, he said.

Boosel declined to identify the specific target sites but said the authority has made inquiries and had appraisals done on them. There haven't been any negotiations on any of them yet, he said.

The authority wants to hire a contractor-developer first to assist in choosing a site and putting financing plans together, he said.

There is no budget estimate for the project because no site has been selected nor has the style of construction been determined, Boosel said.

Project financing could come from a variety of sources including low-income tax credits, borrowing through a bond issue or getting assistance from the federal Home Loan Bank, he said.

gwin@vindy.com




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