Senior Housing: Chicago developer looking to build independent facility

Senior Housing: Chicago developer looking to build independent facility

By MATT HOPF for the Herald-Whig

A Chicago developer is planning a $14 million to $15 million senior independent living facility on the north side of Vermont between Third and Fourth Streets, across from the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.

Celadon Holdings has been approved to receive $1.35 million in low-income housing tax credits through the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Also receiving approval for tax credits is 3 Diamond Development, which is in line for $1.58 million to develop the historic Newcomb Hotel at Third and Maine into a senior assisted-living center.

A spokeswoman with the Illinois Housing Development Authority confirmed that the tax credits were approved at the Oct. 15 board meeting.

Scott Henry of Celadon Holdings said the company owns about 10 facilities around Chicago and has been looking to expand.

“Our mission is really is to focus entirely on independent living senior properties,” he said. “It really took us about a year to feel like we understood Quincy well enough to be able to identify and pick a good site.”

Henry said the company also looked into the Quad Cities and Rockford but believes Quincy is a better fit.

“It’s a community that does not have a lot of quality affordable housing for seniors,” Henry said.

“There is great housing for seniors, but it is super expensive. There’s a lot that is on the subsidy end, and there’s nothing wrong with subsidized housing, but there’s nothing in the middle.”

Celadon Holdings is planning to develop a 65-unit apartment building between Vermont and the alley to the north. It would have one- and two-bedroom apartments along with a management office, library, computer center and possibly a beauty salon.

“The idea was to kind of capture the historic charm of the river town that Quincy is, so there’s a lot of nice details on the exterior,” Henry said. “I think it will fit really nice into the downtown setting.”

Henry said he has signed contracts to buy three properties for about 1.6 acres of land. He declined to say how much the land acquisition will cost. He said construction could start in June and be completed within 12 months.

The development would extend north to the alley between Vermont and Broadway. According to the Adams County Geographic Information System, that would include land at 339 Vermont and 315 N. Fourth owned by Harlan Clampitt, and 325 Vermont owned by Kenneth and Pamela Hultz.

Clampitt, who operates Harlan’s Auto Sales Inc. at 339 Vermont and owns the white house to the north at 315 N. Fourth, said he was approached about selling the property in June. Both he and Kenneth Hultz, who operates We Care Auto Care at 325 Vermont and owns the rest of the land west to Third Street, thought it would be an ideal project of the area.

“It will be a great location because of the (nearby) Health Department building and the Kroc Center,” Clampitt said. “There are still some things that need to be done, but it looks like it will be a done deal.”

Closing is scheduled for no later than March 31, Clampitt said.

Henry said financing for the project was lined up. He said the company also is pursuing a $500,000 loan from the city’s Revolving Loan Committee.

Mayor John Spring said the city has worked with Celadon Holdings for three or four months.

“I think it’s definitely helping to reaffirm that part of Quincy, and I think what you’ll see are additional changes that will occur in that part of the downtown area,” Spring said. “I don’t think there is any question that this will help stimulate economic development and it will probably lead for more housing.”

Money awarded to renovate the Newcomb Hotel could bring the city the closest it has been to redeveloping the property, which has sat vacant for decades.

Quincy officials heard from a representative of 3 Diamond Development in September, which was in discussions with the current owner to buy the hotel and invest $11.4 million to develop a 98-unit facility. Whoever buys the hotel, built in 1888 across from Washington Park, will have to pay off back taxes and loans from Quincy and Adams County.

Victor Horowitz of Skokie purchased the hotel for $500,000 in December 2003 from the Rezmar Corp., which had owned the building since 1996. He planned to develop the hotel into an assisted-living facility, but the project never got off the ground. He received $500,000 from the Quincy Revolving Loan Committee to help finance the purchase.

The loan, which was to have been paid off or refinanced by August, had a balance of $410,323 in September.

Payment of taxes on the hotel are also behind. More than $13,500 is due for 2010 property taxes, and property taxes from 2009 were sold last October at the county’s annual tax sale for delinquent real estate taxes. It would cost $19,100.41 to bring that bill current.

Horowitz also received a $50,000 loan from the Adams County’s Revolving Loan Committee, with $40,175 left to be paid on that loan.

City officials have indicated that 3 Diamond Development could be eligible to receive a loan from the committee if an application is submitted.

“For the first time, this might be the closest we’ve come in probably 30 years in maybe, hopefully getting something done with the Newcomb,” said Gary Sparks, the city’s director of administrative services. “We keep our fingers crossed and hopefully everything can be brought together.”

[whig.com]

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