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McLean County Pursues Affordable Housing At Fairview Building

Fairview Building
Eric Stock
McLean County hopes to finalize a deal by next month for a union group to build affordable senior housing at the Fairview Building in Normal.

McLean County is negotiating with a laborers' group that wants to take over the vacant Fairview Building in Normal to turn it into affordable senior housing.

Chair of the county Property Committee Josh Barnett said the Laborers' Home Development Corporationwas the only firm to formally express interest in the site since the county first put out a request for information (RFI).

The building once housed the county’s tuberculosis sanatorium, but it has sat empty for years.

“It was originally meant to be for the public good, so we are excited that by turning this into senior housing there’s an opportunity to do that again,” Barnett said. “It should be great to see all this come together in the next few months.”

Barnett said it's too early to say if the county will look to sell or lease the building or if the county would make any money from repurposing the property.

Barnett noted the county is paying about $1,000 per month on utilities for a vacant building.

“Anything we can do to help mitigate those costs on the county’s behalf and also provide a good opportunity for the community as a whole, it’s going to be a plus for us.”

The LHDC has said it also plans to put a three-story building on the site next to the Fairview Building. Officials with LHDC did not return calls seeking comment, but they told county officials previouslythey were looking at a $13 million project that would need low-income housing tax credits to become reality.

The corporation recently started a similar project for senior apartments by converting a former high school in Paris, Illinois.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.