Earthwork recently began on the Metro Landing of Swansea, a new apartment building for seniors next to the Swansea MetroLink station. The $10.9 million project is now expected to be finished in the spring of 2019 instead of this summer as initially announced.
Most of the financing for the building is coming from $8.4 million in low-income housing tax credits allocated by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
The three-story building will have 62 units. Monthly rent is expected to be $560 for a one-bedroom apartment and $700 for a two-bedroom apartment. Prospective residents must be 55 or older and meet income guidelines: They cannot earn more than $30,000 a year and a two-person household cannot earn more than $33,000.
“It’s a project that adds a lot of great potential for that area and we hope that, that spurs more building,” said Swansea Mayor Mike Leopold. “It’s a great spot. You’ve got light rail there. You’ve got everything that you need there. You’re close to shopping centers. You’re close to doctor’s offices.”
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The project is being developed by the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority, or SWIDA, and St. Louis-based Bywater Development Group.
This could be a catalyst for other things in that area.
Mike Lundy, executive director of the Southwestern Illinois Development Authority
SWIDA bought the 1.6-acre site from Bi-State Development for about $403,000 and the site is now subject to property taxes. Bi-State is the public agency that oversees MetroLink.
SWIDA and Bywater had announced in September 2016 that construction would begin in 2017 and be finished by the summer of 2018 and that it would cost $10.5 million instead of the latest estimate of $10.9 million.
Mike Lundy, director of SWIDA, said getting all the financing in order took longer than expected and the construction costs have gone up since the construction is starting a year later than expected.
“This could be a catalyst for other things in that area,” Lundy said. “We’re excited about getting this under construction.”
Lundy said work on the footings for the building may resume as soon as next week if the weather breaks as forecasted.
The tax credit allocation from the Illinois Housing Development Authority for Metro Landing of Swansea resulted in an equity investment from PNC Bank of about $8.9 million, according to SWIDA. Also, PNC Bank is holding about a $1.5 million loan for the project. Ameren Illinois gave the project a $178,000 energy efficiency grant and the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department has issued a $100,000 loan.
Federal, state and local officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project Monday. The Altman-Charter Co. of St. Louis is the general contractor for the project.
“As the need for quality senior housing continues to grow, this project is an excellent way for SWIDA to contribute to the region’s active senior housing choices,” Jim Nations, chairman of the SWIDA board, said during the ceremony.
While leasing has not yet begun, persons interested in the Swansea site can call the SWIDA office at 618-345-3400 for more information.
Mary Kane, of Edwardsville, represents the metro-east on the board of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which allocated tax credits for the Swansea apartments. She hopes the board approves funding for additional projects in Southern Illinois.
“We want a whole lot more,” Kane said.
Meredith Home update
In September, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the state agency that approved tax credits for the Metro Landing of Swansea, rejected a financing request from SWIDA for the $12 million redevelopment plan to put senior apartments and retail space in the Meredith Home in downtown Belleville.
SWIDA had sought $9 million in financing for the Meredith Home project: $8 million in low-income housing tax credits and a $1 million loan.
Lundy said SWIDA has resubmitted its request for support from the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
According to the Illinois Housing Development Authority, Illinois is allocated low-income housing tax credits based on population. Developers can apply for the tax credits, which they can then sell to investors who use the credits to offset their tax liability.
When SWIDA did not receive the financing approval in September, Jim Nations, the chairman of the SWIDA board, said the number of parking spaces for the project was one of the concerns raised by the state housing authority.
Lundy said he did not have new information to release about how SWIDA is dealing with the parking issue.
The Meredith Home, a six-story brick building that towers over the Public Square in downtown Belleville, first opened in 1931 as Hotel Belleville. The Belleville Diocese started a retirement home in the building in 1962 but sold the building to the city of Belleville in 2010. It has been vacant since then.