The city is making progress on its Locust Street redevelopment plan and it may be able to find a builder for the housing project in the near future.
The city owns the land, and has made a substantial investment in property for the project. The property could be described as blighted before the city acquired it.
It is in the center of the city with good street access. It is located on both sides of Locust Street and a block from Jefferson Street.
The goal is for a high-density residential development for young families who are just getting started in their careers. Tentative plans call for about 75 percent of the homes to be in the price range of $185,000 and no more than $250,000 for the remaining 25 percent. The plan is for the city to transfer the property to the 353 Redevelopment Corporation, which would request qualifications from prospective developers.
Sal Maniaci, the city’s community and economic development director, told the 353 board Wednesday that he already has heard from one developer who has expressed interest in the project. The reason the 353 would be involved is that it is more flexible and isn’t required to take the highest bidder. The city usually is bound to take the highest bidder in selling land. Maniaci said the 353 can decide what is in the best interest of the community.
The city believes about a 20-unit development is needed to attract developers. The total size of the city property is 1.3 acres. So the lots will be small. There was a trailer park on part of the property at one time. The property adjoins the proposed Busch Creek Greenway project.
The city hopes to make the overall development a model that could be used at other sites in the city. There is a need for affordable housing in Washington. Many young couples have moved to other nearby communities for affordable housing.