Former YMCA building gets funds

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Note: Printed with Permission from The Globe-Gazette, article by John Skipper.
MASON CITY - State grants totaling nearly $2 million have given a big boost to two Mason City housing projects, including the renovation of the old YMCA.
Gov. Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that tax credits from the Iowa Finance Authority and the Iowa Department of Economic Development will go toward renovating the old YMCA building at 15 N. Pennsylvania Ave. into a 46-unit apartment complex and to construction of 33 new units at Pebble Creek Apartments, Phase II, on South Grover Avenue.
The old Y project will receive $312,670 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and an award of $626,126 from the Department of Economic Development HOME fund.
Pebble Creek will receive $221,888 in LIHTC money and $689,690 from HOME.
"We crossed another big hurdle," said Tom Schaefer, president of Henkel Construction Co., a partner with Community Housing Initiatives and Heartland Properties in renovating the old YMCA.
"We're waiting to hear from the National Park Service about being included on the national historic register. We expect to hear fairly soon, and if that happens, additional significant tax credits are automatic," Schaefer said.
Community Housing Initiatives, based in Spencer, is a non-profit organization that specializes in housing developments. Heartland Properties, based in Madison, Wis., is a for-profit corporation that has done many housing developments involving renovation of historic sites.
Schaefer said they plan to put 46 to 50 apartments in the four-story building, including some two-story apartments in the area of the old gymnasium. There would be indoor parking for 21 vehicles. He said 40 percent of the apartments would be two-bedroom, with the remainder one-bedroom.
Schaefer said all but about five of the apartments would be "affordable housing," with the remainder renting for "market price."
The Pebble Creek housing project is being planned by Newbury Development, a Des Moines company that developed the Hunter's Ridge multi-story housing in Pebble Creek.

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