PHA Approves Phase One of Taft Re-Development

Published 03/13 2014 06:47PM

Updated 03/13 2014 10:55PM

PEORIA - A new plan for Peoria's Taft Homes tonight.  
The first phase of the housing redevelopment is happening just a few blocks away from the current housing on Peoria's riverfront.
The new phase one of redevelopment is coming to the historic Greeley school. 
That's on Peoria's near north  side on Jefferson avenue not far from where Taft Homes are now.  

The board unanimously approved the proposal Thursday night.
But it's just the beginning.

A change from what we're used to seeing at meetings surrounding taft home redevelopment.
Most people speaking at Thursday night's meeting seemed to praise the board's decision.

Concerns still linger.
But leaders say they're just happy to now move forward.

"Because the Greeley School would be a rehab and it's also a historic district those extra points do add up," says Peoria Housing Authority CEO Brenda Coates.

The co-developers of the project from Ohio are working with local Peoria companies.
And they're working to get a lot of help from things like from tax credits at the federal and state level to pay for the project.

"The Greeley site for financing we're going for is quite competitive. Frankly, it has a much better chance of scoring," says Steve Smith, the President and CEO of Model Group, a co-developer on the project.

They say it's a way of revamping a building otherwise falling into disrepair.
And to revitalize the community around it.

"If we can bring resources to shock the market to point where the markets not functioning, it doesn't have a pulse, we wanna bring resources to bring a pulse back to the market can do what it does naturally," Smith adds.

In phase one, the proposal calls for 80 units to be built on the Greeley site.
Around 20 would fit into the school.
So, more construction would be needed on the property.
That means PHA is still looking for more space for around 136 taft residents. 
Phase two of the project will be to find more areas around Peoria to re-locate taft.
And to re-purpose the current property of Taft Homes.

"How do we maximize the financial resources and benefit that's gonna help sustain PHA in the future," says Coates.

As far as the current site, PHA is looking for a partner to help re-development.

Looking anywhere from new residential area to a big box store.
In the new development, PHA plans to include on site educational resources and job readiness for parents and kids.

The land surrounding Greeley is owned by PHA, school District 150, the city, and private owners.

The developers have a March 31 deadline to submit plans to the state. 

Ultimately this all has to be approved by H.U.D. 

Construction would start in 2015.

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