FILLING A NEED: Tax credits OK’d for 2 workforce housing complexes

MVAH Partners of West Chester Township, Ohio, developed Market Street Lofts in East Liverpool, Ohio. The firm says an apartment complex to be built in Fortville may look similar. SUBMITTED

HANCOCK COUNTY — The state has awarded funding assistance for proposed apartment developments in Greenfield and Fortville.

Together, the complexes will bring more than 100 new apartments to the county. Those units will supply a form of dwelling officials say is sorely lacking in the area — workforce housing.

The apartments won’t be subsidized, but rather reserved for those making portions of the area’s median income.

The Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority recently approved a total of nearly $2 million in tax credits the developers will be able to sell to help fund their projects.

Fort Wayne-based Keller Development, Inc. was awarded $834,500 in tax credits to help fund Korbyn Creek — two new two-story buildings with a total of 48 two-bedroom units at 230 E. Osage St., Greenfield. Estimated at $8.7 million, the development will replace a former industrial property owned by Indiana Knitwear, which operates in a building north of the site.

A developer wants to bring apartment buildings that look like this to East Osage Street in Greenfield. (Submitted image)
A developer wants to bring apartment buildings that look like this to East Osage Street in Greenfield. (Submitted image)

Twenty of the units will be reserved for tenants making 80% of area median income, four at 60%, 12 at 50% and 12 and 30%. Hancock County’s median household income was just over $74,000 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Greg Majewski, business development specialist for Keller Development, said during the planning approval process last fall that monthly rents would range from $480 to $660.

Korbyn Creek will be similar to Broadway Flats at 210 Center St., which opened in 2019. Keller Development also developed that complex.

Majewski said the firm was excited to learn of the award.

“We feel like we have a good working relationship with the city of Greenfield, having done another project there in the past,” he said.

A start date for construction remains to be determined.

“There are a lot of things that we still have to get figured out first, but likely within the next 12 months,” Majewski said.

Joan Fitzwater, Greenfield’s planning director, said the city has a need for workforce housing.

“It’s huge,” she said, adding she often sees people on social media asking about where they can rent housing in town.

Even after Korbyn Creek is finished, she said, the city will still have plenty of need for more workforce housing developments.

“We could support many more,” Fitzwater said.

And that’s just now, she continued. All of the economic development occurring in the county will only continue to drive the need.

“It’s just going to grow exponentially,” she said.

MVAH Holding LLC in West Chester Township, Ohio, was awarded $1 million in tax credits to help fund Madison Lofts, the workforce housing phase of an apartment complex at 215 S. Madison St., Fortville. The award is part of Fortville, Greenfield and Hancock County’s inclusion in the state’s Stellar Communities program, which provides funds and funding opportunities for community improvement projects.

Estimated at $11.1 million, Madison Lofts will have four stories and 58 units, 31 of which will be one-bedroom and 27 two-bedroom. Fifteen units will be reserved for tenants making 80% of area median income, 14 at 60%, 14 at 50% and 15 and 30%.

Pete Schwiegeraht of MVAH Partners said during the planning approval process last summer that the development would be marketed to tenants making an hourly wage of about $17 to $25 an hour. One-bedroom units would rent for around $700 a month while two-bedroom apartments would go for about $800, he also said.

Schwiegeraht said the firm is looking forward to the project.

“It’s been a several-year effort to try to bring this to fruition and certainly getting this award is a crucial key step to moving the project forward, so we’re excited to see that IHCDA, the state agency, saw the same benefits in the project and awarded funding,” he said.

MVAH hopes for the one-year build to start in early fall.

Adam Zaklikowski, planning and building director for Fortville, said he’s excited that the state awarded assistance for the project too.

“Workforce housing is something that we need, and as always, we look forward to working closely with the developer to work on the aspects of the project to make sure that it fits in well in town,” he said.

Zaklikowski also said at four stories, the apartment complex could possibly end up being the tallest building in town.

Tonya Davis, a Fortville Town Council member, agreed the town lacks workforce housing.

“I think a lot of people don’t want to think that it’s there, but it’s there,” she said of the need. “It’s been there for a while. … It’s really based on people that are young professionals that are starting out in their careers.”

Home costs in town are rising, and rentals are becoming less available, she continued.

“There’s just no place like that for someone that’s starting out or in between careers,” Davis said. “I’ve even talked to a lot of people in the community that are my age and a little older that have kids that are looking for those sorts of communities to live in right now, and they want to be in Fortville, but they can’t find anything they can afford.”

The site is perfect for an apartment building too, she said.

“I know people have concerns about the four stories, but it kind of sits in a sloping area over there that’s right next to the railroad tracks,” Davis said. “It really won’t seem like a four-story building, I don’t think, once it’s up.”

MVAH Holding also applied for tax credits to help fund a 57-unit senior housing apartment building on the property as well, but its application was denied due to not scoring high enough. Statewide, 51 developments applied and 19 were awarded.

Schwiegeraht said the senior housing component continues to be part of MVAH’s long-term goal for the site.

“Ultimately we are hopeful we can bring that back and apply again and secure funds, but it will depend on what the future holds,” he said.

Three other apartment developments proposed for Greenfield also applied but were denied tax credits. They included a 60-unit development at 402 Barrett Drive, a 48-unit development at 212 W. McClarnon Drive and a 50-unit development at 861 Swope St.

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Apartment developments

Korbyn Creek

  • 230 E. Osage St., Greenfield
  • 2 buildings, total of 48 two-bedroom units
  • $8.7 million
  • Keller Development, Inc., Fort Wayne

Madison Lofts

  • 215 S. Madison St., Fortville
  • 31 one-bedroom, 27 two-bedroom units
  • $11.1 million
  • MVAH Holding LLC, West Chester Township, Ohio