The burgeoning Eastside will welcome yet another affordable, multi-family housing development – this time located near the intersection of Lord and South W.W. White roads.
The Lord Road Apartments, which will be situated between Copernicus Park and the new IDEA Public School campus that’s currently under construction, will feature 324 affordable units for families making 60% of the average median income or below, along with amenities such as a fitness center, a clubhouse, and an after-school program for children.
NRP Lone Star Development is leading the effort and anticipates breaking ground on the complex late next summer, NRP Group Vice President of Governmental Affairs Debra Guerrero told the Rivard Report Wednesday.
The project is currently going through land-use plan and zoning change processes, and developers expect final approval by Dec. 1.
The main motivation behind building the apartments, Guerrero said, is to “bring people back” to the area and activate a vacant part of the Eastside.
“The idea is that this becomes a full-fledged reinvestment in the neighborhood,” she said after the City’s Housing Committee voted to recommended City Council’s approval of a measure allowing NRP to apply for the 4% Housing Tax Credit Program to help with the $43 million multi-family housing development.
NRP already was awarded $1.25 million in FY 2017 HOME Investment Partnership Program funding in August. Developers anticipate finishing the entire project in 2019.
Originally, the City and neighbors envisioned a hospital on the parcel of land where the apartments will sit, but an apartment complex seemed more viable considering the vicinity to the IDEA School and plans for a portion of the 2017 bond funds to go to construction of an athletic facility – likely a tennis court – next to Copernicus Park.
“Creating more density here makes sense,” said Guerrero, adding that a greater mass of people in the area will likely bring more commercial and retail investment. “It’s an opportunity to really just take all of this and create an investment.”
The Lord Road Apartments will not only bring more life into the area that is mostly vacant lots, but will also provide valuable connections to its surroundings. Pedestrian walkways will be placed throughout the development, providing a safe option for neighbors to walk to Copernicus Park and the IDEA School, along with a street that leads all the way to South W.W. White Road and will help alleviate traffic along Lord Road.
Guerrero said the success of a 176-unit apartment building NRP developed and built in the area nine years ago – the Costa Cadiz Apartments – helped gain the trust and support of neighbors for the Lord Road project.
She and her team look forward to breathing new life into the neighborhood with the Lord Road Apartments, while also “creating great quality housing for working families.
“(The neighborhood) is going to get a shot in the arm,” she said, “and that’s a good thing.”