Sunday, July 29, 2018 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews
Featured: A vacant lot on 17th Avenue in Broadview, which the village hopes is the future site of affordable housing for seniors and veterans. | Google Maps
During a regular meeting on July 16, the village of Boardview’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to contract Northbrook-based Ross Real Estate Services Inc. to look into the feasibility of building affordable housing development geared toward seniors and veterans on village-owned vacant lots on the east side of 17th Avenue, south of Filmore Street.
This was something that Broadview has been trying to get off the ground for the past few years, but it wasn’t until the July 16 meeting that they took the first concrete step to contract Ross to begin the study.
Once the study is complete, the board will vote on whether to go forward with the building project If Broadview does go forward with the project, the village is expected to get as many tax credits and other state and federal funds as possible to offset the cost of the project, which is currently expected to cost as much as $20 million.
David Upshaw, Broadview’s building commissioner, told the village board during the July 16 meeting that trustee Sherman Jones advocated for affordable housing for seniors and veterans when he was mayor and that current mayor Katrina Thompson has also been pushing for it.
Last fall, Upshaw said, he and Broadview Public Works Director Mathew Ames took part in a national conference in Washington D.C. dealing with federal funding for affordable housing for seniors and veterans.
“It’s over a $1 billion that currently [is available] that president Trump is going to trickle down to states, which is going to trickle down to municipalities,” Upshaw said.
After meeting with Thompson, Upshaw said that he invited 10 to 25 developers to the village and gave them a tour of Broadview.
“Out of those 10 to 15 developers, I asked five developers to submit their credentials and their proposals as it relates to our seniors’ and veterans’ housing,” he said. “Once those proposals were submitted, I set up of interviews with [developers and] myself, Director Ames, as well as Mayor Thompson.”
The interviews took place throughout October and November.
“Based on those interviews, based on research, checking credentials and references and things of that nature, we ended up with Ross,” he said. “That decision was based on their positive track record as it relates to senior and veterans housing, and their relationship as it relates to state level as well as federal level.”
According to its website, Ross Real Estate Services Inc., which is formally known as Ross Financial, boasts that it has 30 years of experience working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). When it comes to building and acquiring new properties, the company helps clients figure out the costs of running affordable housing developments, figures out ways to finance them, develops budgets, conducts market research and plans new construction.
The company also offers property management and financial management services for developments that are already up and running.
Upshaw explained that for Ross Real Estate Services will do an initial study that he projected will cost up to $20,000. The company will also submit the grant application to the state, Upshaw said.
The study results will then go back to the board, and the trustees will decide whether to proceed with the project.
“[If the board gives a go-ahead], the goal is for us to get project started in a few years, but we have to get these tax credits, which are worth millions and millions of dollars,” Upshaw said.
He said that he expects that the project will cost around $15 to $20 million. Although he isn’t sure how much money the tax credits will knock off that cost, Upshaw said that the value of tax credits will be based on a 100-point score and that the village’s goal will be to get as much in tax credits as possible.
Consolidating village-owned parcels where the property would be located, he said, is one of the things that would improve the village’s score.
“The goal is to get 100 points,” Upshaw said. “The first round will be in 2019 as it relates to tax credits, and we want to be in first round.”
Jones said that he supported the idea, adding that he wanted the village attorney and village clerk to check whether there are any laws on the books that might hurt Broadview’s ability to get 100 points – such as prohibition on mixed-use developments with retail on the first floor and residential units above them.
“If I got seniors housing, I think it make sense to have [a pharmacy] downstairs or a laundry or a coffee shop,” Jones said. VFP
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