In about a year, tenants ages 55 and older will start moving into Delaware Place, a senior housing complex off South Sandusky Street at the former site of the Delaware Hotel.
Developers and government officials held a groundbreaking Friday at the site, where construction equipment is expected to be at work next week.
Brian McGeady, director of multi-family development for Miller-Valentine Group, which will own and operate the facility, told the gathering Miller-Valentine closed on the sale this week “and money will be moving on Monday.”
When finished, the project will include 63 apartments in a main multistory building and seven other single-story duplex buildings, all worth about $11.5 million.
“Two years ago in May,” city manager Tom Homan said, “the milestone was the demolition of the hotel. … It was a sad day for the city in a lot of ways because that hotel represented 34 years of memories … but it was also a good day, as today is, because a lot of memories will be made again with this project in the housing that’s created here.”
Several speakers said the project has been made possible by federal housing tax credits that Miller-Valentine received after applying in a competitive process.
Earlier this year, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency granted $1.1 million in tax credits to the Delaware Place project, said Doug Garver, the OHFA executive director and a former Delaware County economic development director. The credits are designed to facilitate development of lower-income housing.
Across the state, Garver said, 102 applications were filed in 2012, seeking credits worth more than $80 million. Of those applicants, 37 developments (including Delaware Place) were approved for credits totaling more than $29 million.
Ohio Capital Corp. for Housing helped Miller-Valentine secure its financing, Ohio Capital president Hal Keller told the gathering.
He later said the tax credits are transferable and provide capital to Miller-Valentine when sold to investors, who in turn use them to reduce their taxes.
McGeady said the financial benefit of tax credits is such that it will allow Delaware Place to charge its tenants about half the rent that otherwise would be needed. The result, he said, is that seniors are not overburdened with housing costs.
Keller credited Delaware city officials, including city planner David Efland, for their role in Miller-Valentine’s successful tax credit application.
Efland cited in particular two members of his staff, Shawn Leininger (who has since moved to South Carolina) and Jason Bechtold (who now works for Westerville) for their efforts in the project’s lengthy planning process.
U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi said the housing tax credit “is the most effective form of the federal government being involved in affordable housing, and also the least known.”
Because the program involves private development, investment and management, Tiberi said, it is more effective than some other federal housing-assistance programs.
Keller said transactions such as those that financed Delaware Place are complicated, but those working on the project finished all the funding and investment preparations “in record time.
Companies investing in Delaware Place, he said, include Key Bank, Fifth Third Bank, JP Morgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Huntington Bank, FirstMerit Bank and Park National Bank, among others.
The Delaware Hotel first opened as a Holiday Inn in 1974. It was condemned and closed in 2008 for safety and code violations.
On July 25, 2009, the building was badly damaged in an arson fire.