Public-private partnership proves successful for Winnebago County Housing Authority
From press release
Collier Gardens Apartments is set to receive a substantial make-over, thanks in part to a $2.3-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The grant is a direct result of the partnership formed between the Winnebago County Housing Authority (WCHA) and Rockford-based Star Development, LLC (Star). Over the next 15 months, nearly $4.5 million will be spent on improvements and upgrades to the 32-year-old apartment complex. With a total project budget of close to $9.4 million, significant funding sources needed to be identified and obtained in order to make the re-development a possibility.
Late last year, WCHA selected Star to be its Master Developer/Partner in the proposed re-development of Collier Garden and to take advantage of a special allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that was being made available by the Illinois Housing Development Authority through a competitive application process. Star and WCHA submitted a successful application for Collier Garden and were awarded $8.4 million in tax credits, which will be used to raise $5.7 million inequity for the re-development.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Alan Zais, the WCHA has found a great balance between a dynamic vision and an understanding of how to get things accomplished,
said Mike Moore, a principal of Star.
With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 earlier this year, $1 billion in Public Housing Capital Funds are being made available through HUD to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). With Star’s assistance, WCHA submitted an application to HUD for Collier Garden under the Public Housing Transformation funding category. WCHA was notified that it was one of only 14 PHAs in the country to receive a grant award under this funding category. As a result, the $2.3 million grant will be provided by HUD to help fund the re-development.
Partnering with Star Development makes sense for our Housing Authority for several reasons,
stated Executive Director Zais.
Not only did we share in the enormous success of transforming the Champion Park Apartments and Washington Park neighborhood under the HOPE VI grant, but they are local, and they keep jobs in Rockford. But most importantly, Star is simply the best at identifying and obtaining the funding sources that make these redevelopments possible.
Built in 1977, Collier Garden Apartments contains 150 units targeted towards people who are 62 or older and/or are disabled and who also qualify under the income restrictions. Although an enjoyable place to live and maintaining an extensive waiting list, the complex is in need of substantial improvements and replacement of many of the building systems, given its age. These include design features that will make the complex even more handicap-accessible and improve the unit amenities enjoyed by residents. The rehabilitation is scheduled to begin later this year.
Receiving this grant from HUD validates all of the hard work of the Winnebago County Housing Authority director and staff, the leadership of the Housing Authority Board, and their dedication to the residents they serve,
said Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen.
Not only will the grant help to bring enhanced, affordable housing to the community and much-needed jobs, but it is also a great example of the benefits available to public bodies when they partner with private businesses like Star Development. Such partnerships help leverage public funds, which, in turn, spread taxpayer dollars even farther. We look forward to continuing to be a part of the partnership formed between the Housing Authority and Star, as we all work together to improve the quality of life for our citizens.
From the September 23-29, 2009 issue
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