News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 14, 2013

Thompson Thrift gets Warren contract

Former elementary school will replace Deming Center, provide low-income housing

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Thompson Thrift, a Terre Haute developer, has won the contract to build Warren Village, expected to be the new home for many – if not all – current residents of the Deming Center, a low-income housing property in downtown Terre Haute.

In a news release issued late Friday afternoon, Thompson Thrift announced it had been selected as the general contractor for the $11-million project, which involves building 109 housing units in the former Warren Elementary School at 1300 N. 25th St.

The board of directors of the Terre Haute Housing Authority, a body appointed by the mayor, selected Thompson Thrift at a meeting late in August. While several contractors expressed initial interest, only Thompson Thrift submitted a formal bid, said Patricia Zaikovsky, president of the board.

The Terre Haute Housing Authority’s not-for-profit entity known as the Low Income Housing Development Corp. is behind the Warren Village project. Funding for the project is being provided through Indiana low income tax credits and through the federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis.

Various levels of state and federal assistance have helped make the project possible, said Jose’ Kreutz, senior vice president for business development at Thompson Thrift. It was not immediately clear how many people will be employed in construction, but the economic impact on the area will be substantial, he said.

Plans call for renovating the existing Warren School, which closed in 2000, and creating 16 apartments inside the building, said Jeff Stewart, executive director of the Housing Authority. The project will also add two wings to the east of the building providing the additional apartments and a courtyard, he said.

Warren Village is expected to be ready for tenants early in 2015. The project is already underway with workers removing materials inside the former school building that are out of date or incompatible with the planned, new apartments, Kreutz said. It is hoped construction will be completed in late summer or early fall of next year, Stewart said.

Warren Village has been in the works for a few years. In 2011, the Terre Haute City Council and the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission gave non-binding approvals for the project, something seen as helping free up state tax credits, city officials said at the time.

A year ago, the City Council approved a 10-year real property tax abatement for Warren Village LP worth an estimated $475,974 over the next 10 years. It will pay an estimated $542,019 in real property taxes over the life of the abatement. Warren Village will remain privately owned but managed and staffed by the Housing Authority, Stewart said. The property is owned by Tim and Jacqueline Fortune, according to county records.

Deming Center residents receive a Section 8 federal rent subsidy tied to that location; that federal rent subsidy will be transferred to Warren Village when it opens, which means residents who move to the former school will pay the same monthly rent they pay at Deming Center.

It is still unclear what will happen to the Deming Center building, constructed about a century ago, once its tenants move out. There are buyers interested in the former hotel building at Sixth and Cherry streets, Stewart has told the Housing Authority Board.

Whatever happens, the Deming Center “will not become another Terre Haute House,” Zaikovsky said Friday, meaning “It will not just rot” year after year.

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