News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 30, 2013

Early start on Warren Village

Work to begin soon on project that replaces Deming Center

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Housing officials want to take advantage of good weather to begin construction early on Warren Village, a low-income housing project planned for the city’s northeast side.

Warren Village is expected to replace the downtown’s Deming Center by 2015.

The Deming Center, a former hotel, is owned by the Low Income Housing Development Corp., a not-for-profit entity operated by the Terre Haute Housing Authority. That corporation also will also operate Warren Village.

The corporation board, made up of members of the Terre Haute Housing Authority board of directors, met Monday night at the Housing Authority headquarters and approved a pair of resolutions paving the way for work to begin earlier than originally planned.

“This is essentially going to allow us to get started a couple of months earlier, take advantage of the good weather,” said Terre Haute Housing Authority executive director Jeff Stewart of a resolution for a $500,000 pre-development loan for the project.

The total project is expected to cost $15 million, he said.

In a separate resolution, the board also voted to amend the corporation bylaws to forgo a public hearing process that would have delayed the project by approximately 45 days. As a not-for-profit entity, the corporation is not required to follow the same public hearing process as the Housing Authority, Stewart told the board.

Stewart and a representative of Milestone Ventures, the consultant on the project, met with Deming Center residents last month. Those meetings were not open to the news media.

The Housing Authority expects to seek proposals from contractors within the next 10 days, Stewart said. Work could begin in September, he said.

“Several” contractors have expressed an interest, Stewart told board members. Completing construction early could qualify the corporation for bonus tax credits from the state, he said.

About two years ago, the corporation successfully applied for low-income tax credits through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, a state agency that assists with construction of low-to-moderate income housing.

When asked by a board member why the Deming Center was not being renovated to allow its tenants to remain, Stewart said that the approved state funding is specifically for the Warren Village project. He also noted that the Deming Center could not be renovated with tenants still living inside the 100-year-old structure.

“The upgrades you need to do [to Deming Center], you can’t do with people living there,” Stewart said.

Federal Section 8 rent subsidies from Deming Center will transfer to Warren Village, allowing tenants to pay the same rent at both locations.

Meanwhile, officials are taking steps to identify potential buyers who might be interested in purchasing the Deming building, Stewart said after the corporation meeting, adding that there are interested parties.



Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com