Columbia Housing Authority considers tax-credit application for Lincoln and Unity Drive homes

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 | 10:09 p.m. CDT; updated 10:43 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 17, 2012

COLUMBIA — Public housing units at Lincoln and Unity drives might be a step closer to renovations, as the Columbia Housing Authority discussed plans Tuesday to apply for tax credits in March to fund the project.

The renovation of the 56-year-old apartments is part of the housing authority's long-term Affordable Housing Initiative. 

The tax credits would come from the Missouri Housing Development Commission, in a process similar to the application sent to the commission for the proposed Lambeth Apartments. The Lincoln-Unity application would request 4 percent tax credits, which is less competitive than the application for 9 percent tax credits for the Lambeth development, according to housing authority CEO Phil Steinhaus.

The housing authority board considered recommendations from ND Consulting Group for work that should be done to the 68 townhouses on Lincoln and Unity drives. It has called for retaining the exterior of the homes and revamping the interior designs and improving the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and piping. According to assessments done by engineers, it will be more affordable to renovate the buildings than to raze them and build new ones, Steinhaus said. 

Ken Nuernberger, principal with ND Consulting Group of St. Louis, said there are other funding options the housing authority might consider. These include Housing and Urban Development HOME funds, city of Columbia Community Development Block Grant funds and the MHDC tax-credit funds. These funding sources could be combined or used individually for future housing authority plans, Nuernberger said.

The housing authority plans to renovate existing public housing and develop new affordable housing, including new rental homes, with and without support services.

Several vacant lots in Columbia were reviewed as potential sites for development of new affordable housing, including two lots on Providence Road, Steinhaus said.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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