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Taft Homes Redevelopment Plan Keeps Residents On Site During Construction

Hooker-DeJong, Inc. via Peoria Housing Authority

When construction begins next spring on the Peoria Housing Authority’s redevelopment of the Taft Homes, current residents won’t be relocated to different public housing sites.

The PHA board of commissioners heard an update on the $45 million project during a special meeting Monday. Housing authority Deputy Director Melissa Huffstedtler told the board there are enough vacant units at the Taft site for tenants to be shifted during the two-phase construction.

“They might move to another unit before they move to a completed unit, but our goal is to not move people off site if we don't have to,” Huffstedtler said. “So, our relocation effort would be moving them from unit to unit and then the appropriate completed unit when it’s ready.”

In July, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) awarded 9% multifamily Federal Low-Income Housing tax credits to the PHA and Bear Development, the Wisconsin-based firm leading the project. Bear and the PHA also have applied for 4% Low Income Housing tax credits and are working through the approval process with IHDA.

Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, the PHA is able to fund the project by leveraging private capital.

An initial site design should be finished by mid-October with plans finalized by the end of the year. Adam Templer, Bear’s vice president of development, said the project will be put up for bids in January with hopes of a financial closing in late March or early April.

“Once we hit our financial closing, then we can start construction,” said Templer. “Once that first phase of construction is completed, we will shift people from their old units into their new units and open up the rest of the site for demolition and new construction.”

Construction of Phase 1 is targeted for completion by June 2022; Phase 2 would start shortly thereafter with anticipated completion of December 2023.  The new development will have 142 multifamily units as well as community facilities.  Templer said about 130 of Taft’s current 216 units are currently occupied.

“All the current tenants that are on site, the process we’re going through now with the phasing of the construction is to make sure we have a spot for all of them to go to during the interim phase while a portion of the site is under construction,” said Templer. “It’s a lot of musical chairs and moving around the site to make it all work. But the intent is to be able to relocate people on the site.”

A resolution approving an amendment to the PHA's early start development agreement with Bear for the Taft project is on the agenda for Tuesday's regular board of commissioners meeting. 

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Joe Deacon is a reporter at WCBU.