The Independence Center in partnership with ND Consulting Group is planning a new construction apartment building for seniors at 4221 Forest Park Avenue next door to the Clubhouse Shop of Independence Center in the Central West End neighborhood. They submitted a $0 zoning-only building permit application March 6th, 2023.
The four story building on 0.65 acres, called the Independent Center Senior Apartments, would consist of 38 one-bedroom apartments. They will seek state and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) which would cover more than half of the development costs. Six apartments would be income restricted to below 30% of the area median income (AMI), 28 units restricted to below 60% AMI. The remaining four would not be restricted, but are anticipated to have tenants who are below 60% AMI nonetheless. The estimated project cost is $10.6M.
They are seeking property tax abatement for 10 years at 90% and five more at 50% which SLDC staff has recommended that the LCRA Board endorse. The present value of the abatement is estimated to be $175k. The property is currently tax exempt. The LCRA Board will consider the blighting designation and abatement May 23rd (Agenda). The proposal scored a 68 on the SLDC community benefits scorecard. 40 points were awarded for its affordable housing. Curiously, the plan scored five points for historic preservation even though the existing building would be razed. It seems to be a mistake. Scoring 63 instead wouldn’t have impacted the level of abatement that it could qualify for. If approved next would be a Board Bill at the Board of Aldermen.
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The existing building was constructed in 1918 and was last home to Allied Photocolor. The Independence Center submitted a demolition permit application in April. It is in a Preservation Review District, so the Cultural Resources Office will review the demolition. It may go before the Preservation Board if CRO denies the demolition and the Independence Center appeals. They met with the West Pine Laclede Neighborhood Association May 9th to present the proposal. They provided a letter of support with some caveats. You can read them on page 20 of the LCRA meeting agenda.