The Housing Authority of the City of Frederick is hoping to bring a new apartment community for low-income residents and seniors downtown.
The project, to be discussed at Thursday night’s Historic Preservation Commission hearing, will be mostly on South Street properties, including 110 W. South St., where the Gary L. Rollins Funeral Home currently resides.
Angie Liddiard, economic development director for the Housing Authority, said Wednesday the plan is for 152 new units available to both seniors and low-income families, with about two-thirds of them filled by the former. The project is being dubbed South Street Centre.
“There’s a huge shortage of affordable housing in Frederick,” Liddiard said. “These are hardworking folk that will be going in there. Schoolteachers, police officers, firemen. The prices in Frederick keep going up, but the wages haven’t quite caught up.”
While the project won’t be a public housing initiative, which she said is typically deeply subsidized, the units also won’t be available at market rate. Instead, the South Street project finds itself in what she called an in-between space that will offer housing at a price not necessarily labeled as one that provides “huge savings.”
Even so, the project will be made possible via the Low Income Housing Tax Credit that the city recently earned in which the city uses money that comes from the federal government that is ultimately funneled through the state. As such, Maryland then decides which projects to help fund with the money, and this year, the South Street project was one in a group of about a dozen statewide that won the award. It was the only project in the county to receive the credit.
Frederick has completed similar projects via the LIHTC such as 520 N. Market St. and Sinclair Way off West South Street.
In addition to the 152 living units at South Street Centre, the project will also feature such amenities as a community room, fitness center, office space and day care center, which will be at the current funeral home site, according to the proposal.
The tax credit ensures that the project doesn’t have to be otherwise subsidized, Liddiard said. Because the credit will fund part of the construction, the money to get it up and running won’t have to be repaid. This, in turn, changes the operating budget enough to offer residents slightly lower rent.
“The goal is to try and help people be able to afford their housing and move into a more financially stable position,” Liddiard explained. “We’re still more than 4,000 units short of units to live in, so it’s exciting to receive this award.”
The Housing Authority expects to close on cementing the funding for the project next fall before a 12- to 15-month construction period begins. Because of that, the city is most likely about two years away from a ribbon-cutting, Liddiard said, before it can then apply for a certificate of occupancy. To live in the units, prospective residents would then have to qualify by disclosing their income, and depending on how much they make, rent costs could vary depending on the size of the family.
It’s unclear what will happen with the Gary L. Rollins Funeral Home business. The funeral home did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The HPC meeting begins at 6 p.m. Thursday in the City Hall boardroom.