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Senior Housing Proposed For Fairview Building In Normal

Rendering of a proposed apartment building.
Town of Normal
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An apartment complex for low-income seniors could revive McLean County's Fairview building, once used as a tuberculosis sanatorium.

A union-backed development group is moving forward with a $9 million affordable senior housing project that would use the old TB Sanatorium in Normal.

The Laborers Home Development Corporation has done a lot of senior housing and affordable family housing. The goal is to provide jobs for Laborers International union workers in the Midwest region. Laborers Home Corporation representative Tim Ryan said McLean County government approached the firm about the idea.

"We rehabbed a high school into senior apartments. I believe the county caught wind of that and asked if we would consider looking at this project for that same population," said Ryan.

Ryan said the location of the Fairview building along North Main Street that used to house the county health department is well suited for senior living, being close to essential services and on a major bus route.

"With the (county) nursing home next door, you could potentially have a situation where one spouse is living in our development and the other spouse is at the nursing home and that way they don't have to be too far separated. Or, once they leave our development and they need more care or assistance, they can move to the nursing home," said Ryan.

Ryan said a marketing study shows there is substantial need for more affordable senior housing in Bloomington-Normal. Laborers Home Development would put an addition on the back of the Fairview building for the 46-unit project consisting of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

"The existing structure will house some units, but that building will primarily have tenant services in it, such as a community room, a leasing manager's office, and maintenance personnel's office," said Ryan.

The Normal Planning Commission will take up the proposal on Thursday.

Ryan said construction could begin late this year, though that's a very soft target.

McLean County would still have to grant a lease, or sell the land, and the development group still needs state tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority for the project to proceed.

Ryan said Laborers Home Development also remains interested in a potential affordable housing development south of the train tracks in Uptown Normal.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.