KCDC seeks funds

This article originally appeared in the Shopper News on March 4, 2015.

The paperwork is in and the waiting has started.

Knoxville’s Community Development Corp. completed its application Feb. 2 for low-income tax credits that will allow KCDC to build 90 new apartments on the site of two 1960s-era housing development in the Five Points neighborhood of East Knoxville.

In June, KCDC will find out whether it has financial support from the Tennessee Housing Development Authority to break ground on the project in early spring 2016.

“The program is very competitive,” said Art Cate, KCDC’s chief operating officer. “We are dependent on the annual funding cycle through the THDA.”

The current proposal is for phase one of a four-phase, 10-year plan intended to replace the existing Walter P. Taylor and Lee Williams homes with new low-income quarters. It will occupy the empty tract at the corner of Bethel and McConnell. The upcoming project is not the first to create new apartments and tear down old housing at Five Points. At the same time KCDC was using Hope 6 monies to remake Mechanicsville several years ago, the agency also razed 183 of 500 units in the Taylor and Williams projects.

“Since that early work was off the footprint of Taylor/Williams and used a different funding sources, we don’t consider it part of the current project,” Cate said.

The agency used federal stimulus and neighborhood stabilization funds to put back 85 units on the site of the decommissioned Eastport Elementary School. The Residences at Eastport combined new construction with part of the existing school structure adjacent to the Taylor/Williams tract.

“Because Eastport was housing for the elderly, we took a few more precautions and made it highly secure by design,” Cate said.

If funded, the first phase will include units to house 90 elderly residents in a three-story building with elevators and an interior hallway.

“We use a build-relocate-tear-down model of development,” Cate said. “We build new residential units on the vacant footprint of the old development, then relocate the residents to the new space, and then tear down the old structures they vacated.”

In addition to the new build at the Taylor and Williams projects, KCDC has facilitated that construction of 29 homes in the larger Five Points neighborhood surrounding the city park at South Chestnut Street and Wilson Avenue.

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