Public hearing on new elderly apartments set for today
NATCHEZ — Representatives from a Texas company hoping to develop the former general hospital building into low-cost primarily elderly housing will take questions at a public hearing today.
Brownstone Group Vice President Jeremy Mears said his company has plans to do a $5 million renovation of the Oak Towers facility and build two new buildings on the property.
The Oak Street facility and the two new buildings will be predominantly one-bedroom apartments for the elderly, Mears said. It will house a total of 38 units, he said.
The renovation and new construction, Mears said, will abide by historic guidelines and must be approved by federal authorities and the Mississippi Department of Archives. The plans will also go through the proper city approvals, he said.
“We couldn’t go in there and do anything that would take away from (the building’s) historical state,” Mears said. “Even the new construction…it does complement the character and feel of the building. We’re very cognizant of that, and we want to make sure it looks good also.”
The company plans to apply for tax credits from the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, as well as state and federal historic preservation tax credits to fund the project, Mears said.
The property will have a controlled access, wrought-iron gate, private gardens, an outdoor sitting gazebo, education center with free computer access and a fitness center, Mears said.
The units and their appliances will also be Energy Star-certified for energy efficiency.
Tenants will have to meet income requirements, Mears said, and rent will range from approximately $500 to $675.
“The rent is based on 60 percent of the area median income,” Mears said. “This is not Section-8 housing. It’s not low-income housing, just affordable housing,” Mears said.
The housing will not be limited to just senior citizens, Mears said.
Brownstone is currently putting together its tax-credit application and should know whether the project is funded by August, Mears said. That would put the company on track to begin construction in early 2014.
Mears will have plans and drawings available for public view at the hearing, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Natchez City Council Chambers.