Senior apartments project hits another roadblock

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Work is underway near the southeast corner of Madison and Ohio streets in Fortville on a workforce apartments building. The developer had intended to apply to a state program to help fund a senior apartments building as well, but was unable to negotiate a land price with the site’s owner.

FORTVILLE — A developer is no longer pursuing an upcoming round of a funding assistance program for a senior apartments project after failing to negotiate a land price with the site’s owner.

The company and a Fortville town leader remain hopeful something can eventually be fostered at the location, however.

MVAH Partners, based in West Chester, Ohio, had intended to apply to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority for tax credits it could sell to help fund a development called Madison Senior Lofts at 215 S. Madison St. in Fortville. Estimated at $12 million, the proposal calls for 42 apartments across a mix of one- and two-bedroom options for tenants 55 and older.

The state awarded MVAH Partners $1 million in tax credits in 2021 to help fund a project called Madison Lofts just to the east of the site eyed for Madison Senior Lofts, and work on that development is underway. Madison Lofts will have 50 units for workforce housing reserved for tenants making between 30% and 80% of area median income.

MVAH Partners sought tax credits to help fund Madison Senior Lofts in that round as well, but didn’t score high enough on its application to the competitive program.

Applications for the upcoming round were due last month, but Fortville Town Council President Fritz Fentz said MVAH Partners informed town officials that it isn’t able to move forward. Fentz added the primary reason was that the company was unable to come to terms with the landowner of the site eyed for the senior housing development over a price.

“I think there’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” Fentz said, referring to the economy.

An attempt to reach Pete Schwiegeraht, senior vice president of development – Midwest Region for MVAH Partners, was unsuccessful. At a Fortville Redevelopment Commission meeting last month, however, he noted challenges remained over negotiating the land price for Madison Senior Lofts and acknowledged it could hamper the firm’s efforts, at least for now.

“We are committed to the application and even if not this year, we’re going to continue to try to work with the seller next year and also with you,” Schwiegeraht told redevelopment commission members.

Fentz said a strong demand for senior housing remains in Fortville and that he’s reaching out to other developers who might be interested in taking on the project. He added that builders would likely find the possibility appealing particularly because of all the infrastructure work already done in the area in preparation for the workforce housing building.

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