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Posted on Sat. Jun. 28, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

More new homes coming to Renaissance Pointe area

Focus will be on attracting owners, not renters

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Most of the homes built in the city's Renaissance Pointe project area in recent years have been of the "rent to own" variety, with occupants able to buy the property after 15 years.

But a new round of housing construction in the southeast-side neighborhood will target people who want to own their homes immediately -- or after a far shorter lease period.

Kevan Biggs, whose Decatur-based Ideal Builders has erected 66 rent-to-own homes in Renaissance Pointe over the past four years, said Friday he will build at least four and possibly as many as 14 homes in the area bounded by Hanna, Creighton, South Anthony and Pontiac. The first four, including two on Hanna and one each on Weisser Park Boulevard and Gay Street, will include three bedrooms, two bathrooms and will be sold to owner-occupants or those wishing th buy after leasing for no more than three years.

The houses will be funded through the federal Home Investment Partnerships Program and will be available to residents earning less than 80 percent of the area's media income. Sale price is still to be determined, but Biggs said it could be about $72,500.

Developer Ric Zehr may also participate, Biggs said, and the homes will be marketed by Realtors Tug and Judi Pierson.

When the city began Renaissance Pointe in 2006, the intent was to build mostly owner-occupied homes on the numerous vacant lots there. But the recession hurt the construction and lending markets, resulting in the shift to government-subsidized rent-to-own housing. An increase in owner-occupied homes would make it easier for lenders and builders to participate in additional construction there, Biggs said.

The pending $12 million rehabilitation of the nearby Eden Green apartment complex by Millennia Housing should also make the area more attractive, Biggs said.

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