QUINCY -- Work could begin by mid-2020 on a mixed housing development featuring new construction and renovated units at the Quincy Housing Authority's Frederick Ball site.
The $17 million project -- to be done by Brinshore Development, QHA and the Quincy Development Association -- will boost the number of units from 59 to 65.
"We'll build 17 new units on site, demo some existing buildings and do a bunch of rehab," QHA Executive Director Jerry Gille said.
"There's not a lot of these old row-style public housing units left in the country. It's long past time to try to figure out a way to change this up, make some of this go away and come back with architecture that really fits into an existing neighborhood and doesn't stand out and scream public housing."
Funding for the project -- the first new construction involving QHA since the early 1970s -- will come from tax credits through the Illinois Housing Development Authority, QHA and other sources.
IHDA announced last week awards totaling more than $28 million, including $1,137,144 to Frederick Ball, in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to fund 25 affordable housing developments in 16 counties. The highly-competitive process drew 57 applications requesting $63 million in tax credits.
Once sold to investors, the tax credits will generate an estimated $257.7 million, and $10,233,004 for Frederick Ball, in private capital to finance the creation and/or preservation of 1,864 affordable units for low- to moderate-income families, seniors, veterans and persons with special needs.
Quincy Development Authority, a nonprofit entity for QHA, will sell the tax credits to the highest bidder among equity investors, individuals or corporations with a use for the credits, and partner with some of those investors to manage the new development.
"Getting money from IHDA is one step, but we have to get HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Devlopment) on board with things. There's going to be a lot that has to happen," Gille said. "I like to think we're looking at new construction beginning and working on demo by the middle of next year, if not spring, and we're probably looking at a good two years to completion from now."
Resident meetings to provide more details on the project will be held later this year after HUD has reviewed, and approved, project applications.
QHA also will work with HUD on a relocation plan for residents during construction. Gille said options include transferring tenants into other QHA-owned locations and seeking HUD tenant relocation vouchers to provide subsidized rent assistance in the private market.
"With mixed housing, some of them will have the opportunity to come back, but not all tenants will," Gille said. "When they come back, some rents will be higher than what people are accustomed to paying now."
Work began about three years ago on plans to modernize Quincy's public housing stock which dates to 1941 when the original units at Frederick Ball and Indian Hills were first occupied. QHA decided to work with Brinshore, a Chicago developer, and spent the last two years researching what had been done in other housing authorities and "narrowing down a plan on how best to attack" improvements to the family units, Gille said.
Frederick Ball was targeted to start because of size -- 49 original units compared to 200 at Indian Hills -- and "we thought it would be a good benefit for that particular part of Quincy to do improvements of housing there," Gille said.
"The idea was to start out with the smallest, figure out what we were doing, manage it for a couple years, make sure everything is working right, then systematically work our way through the rest of the portfolio," Gille said.
Demolishing the Frederick Ball site and rebuilding with new construction was an option, "but we couldn't figure out a way to do it financially," Gille said.
Instead, a new two-story building will be built west of the existing community center with new windows, siding and roofs for existing buildings, masonry repairs, interior renovations, a new 14-spot parking lot and a new playground.
New siding, windows and roofs are planned for 10 units on the Ninth and Lind side of Frederick Ball, which were built through the 1960s and designed differently than the original units, but "not as much work is needed, or will be done, on those," Gille said.
Gille said the project will boost the number of one- and two-bedroom units at Frederick Ball to meet a need for smaller, rather than larger, units. The site has 17 one-bedroom, 26 two-bedroom, 12 three-bedroom and four four-bedroom units, but when finished will have 21 one-bedroom, 27 two-bedroom, 15 three-bedroom and two four-bedroom units.
A 1937 federal law created public housing authorities in the United States. The first authorities began incorporating in 1938, 1939 and 1940 with Quincy Housing Authority one of earlier ones.
QHA's first two developments, the 200 units at Indian Hills and 49 units at Frederick Ball, were built in 1941 with the first tenants in place by early 1942.
QHA sought additional federal money in 1964 and through the mid-1960s built 43 units at 30th and roadway, five units on Cherry between Sixth and Seventh and an additional 10 units at Frederick Ball, followed by the 103-unit Lampe Hi-Rise by 1970.
By 1970, QHA had 409 units across five sites.
No new construction has taken place since 1970. QHA has done various renovation and maintenance projects, but "particularly over the course of the last 10 years, the money has gotten pretty tight for modernization," QHA Executive Director Jerry Gille said.