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Posted on Tue. Mar. 01, 2011 - 03:00 am EDT

State bolsters Renaissance Pointe

Awards tax credits for 66 homes

FORT WAYNE — A proposed new-home development in Renaissance Pointe recently won critical state tax credits, bringing the $10 million investment closer to reality.

Heather Presley-Cowen, Fort Wayne deputy director of community development, said the proposed development by Ideal Suburban Homes, of Decatur, won the state credits Thursday. This will allow the builder to move forward with plans to construct 66 rent-to-own homes in the central neighborhood struggling for new investment and residents.

Presley-Cowen said the Fort Wayne Housing and Neighborhood Development Services Board of Directors will discuss the project during its meeting today. It will decide whether to award the developer $640,000 in low-interest loans from the city’s pot of federal housing entitlement dollars. She said the administration supports this award because it will provide some gap financing so the project can meet federal energy efficiency requirements.

The entire project would help kick-start development in Renaissance Pointe after years of nearly no growth.

While the homes would initially be rentals, the tenant in each home after 15 years will have an opportunity to purchase the house for about half of its value. The project developer previously said he hopes to attract tenants to home ownership early by showing them the value of the homes and the available lots to construct houses. He could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Presley-Cowen said the homes will resemble those being built for people wanting to buy so they fit in well with the neighborhood.

“They are treating it as a home-ownership incubator for Renaissance Pointe,” she said.

The neighborhood, formerly known as Hanna-Creighton, has struggled with blight. City officials had a ceremonial groundbreaking for the site in 2007 and have installed about $4 million worth of infrastructure improvements. This includes new sanitary sewers and storm sewers, new sidewalks and streetlights and freshly paved streets. Since then, development has slowed to a crawl.

But of the potential 400 new homes, few have been constructed or sold. Renaissance Pointe is 36 blocks bounded by Creighton Avenue, Pontiac and Hanna streets and South Anthony Boulevard. A new $6.7 million YMCA opened in the area last fall, which officials hope serves as another catalyst for investment.

The developer previously said if the tax credits were awarded, construction could begin this summer.

blanka@jg.net


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