Low-income housing to get facelift


The Maryland Park Apartments at 1619 Maryland Ave. E. will get a facelift if things go according to plan. Real estate developer Dominium is looking to purchase and spiff up the apartment complex starting this summer. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Maryland Park Apartments may be bought by Dominium

The mostly Section 8 housing complex at 1619 Maryland Ave. E. will get a new owner and a facelift if all goes according to plan.

Dominium, a massive national development and property management company specializing in low-income housing, is looking to purchase the 172-unit apartment complex owned by Bloomington-based Stuart Companies. 146 of the units are Section 8.

The company is is looking to close on the purchase by the end of June at the latest.

The $19 million project would include a proposed $9.7 million in tax-exempt bond financing, as well as $1.1 million in state housing funding. The company is also asking for $600,000 from the city to cover soft costs associated with the purchase and renovation of the housing complex.

The city would effectively be acting as the go-between for state funding, allowing Dominium to achieve lower interest rates on a tax-exempt loan.

Al Carlson, director of housing in the city’s Planning and Economic Development department, said no decisions have been made yet about the city’s proposed financial contributions to the project.

He noted that with city funding assistance, the company would be held to city standards such as participating in the city’s crime-free rental housing program.

Though there’s always a risk of losing section-8 housing when a housing complex is sold on the private market, Carlson said, that would not likely be the case with this sale.

“Section-8 units are very valuable for a property owner,” he said. If the city made a loan agreement with Dominium, keeping affordable housing in the complex would be a requirement in the agreement, he said.

Ryan Lunderby, project manager for Dominium, said the company is “working to preserve and extend the section-8 contract that’s currently on the property.”

Renovations

Lunderby said Dominium would look to do “a substantial rehabilitation” on the complex with a price tag in the ballpark of $6 million.

While the current owner “does a good job of maintaining what’s there, a lot of the building components and materials have kind of reached the end of their life,” Lunderby said.

Renovations would include changing out fixtures, replacing floors, renovating kitchens, adding landscaping features, and updating common areas.

The project would take a projected 7 to 10 months past when the company closes on the purchase of the complex, Lunderby said.

Dominium also intends to add a fitness center, a community room, a new laundry area and a conference room as part of the project, Lunderby said.

The building would remain occupied during the renovation.

“At the end of the day it’s still a 3-story building with a flat roof... but we’re doing a lot of upgrades that we think will really make a lot of the finishes more current,” Lunderby said.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.

 

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