Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

Commercial Group looks to expand Valley Springs

July 6, 2006

Commercial Group is seeking the city of De Soto's backing as it seeks financing to build the second phase of its senior housing complex.

Just as company officials did five years ago when they were planning to build what is now Valley Springs Apartments southeast of the Kill Creek Road and Lexington Avenue intersection, company officials are asking for a letter of support from the city as they seek a key part of their financing.

Commercial Group President Don Cooper said his company plans once again to seek tax credits from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. Tax credits are awarded to projects that set aside a certain number of units for "affordable housing." Those units are reserved for those making 60 percent of a county's medium income.

With the first phase filled except for the usual coming and going of apartments, it was time to consider an addition, Cooper said. Although the exact number of units hadn't been determined, Cooper said the initial thought was to build about 30 apartments.

"We know there's a market out there," he said. "We're not just sure how many (units) yet."

And this time, Commercial Group would have the advantage of knowing what had been successful the first time around, he said.

"We've just had more people who want the two-bedroom units," he said. "We're finding seniors have more possessions they don't want to let go of. The second bedroom can be used for storage, a second bedroom or whatever."

The deadline to make applications for the tax credits is Aug. 15, Cooper said. He expected a decision from the state in late October.

The process is competitive, and Commercial Group is not guaranteed the tax credits will be awarded.

"Last time they got 40 applications and awarded 11," he said. "So we have about a 25 percent chance of getting it."

If everything goes well with the state and obtaining city approval of the plat for the second phase, work could start next spring, Cooper said.

"Hopefully, this time next year we'll be close to being finished°. But that's optimistic."

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