$11M townhome project proposed for city’s north side


HUNTINGBURG — A new housing complex comprised mostly of townhouses is being pursued for the northwest side of the former St. Joseph’s Hospital site in Huntingburg.

Ohio-based Miller Valentine Group wants to construct 56 units near 20th Street and Leland Drive. One building will have three stories of mostly two-bedroom apartments. The rest of the site will be comprised of three- or four-bedroom townhomes.

Those living in the homes will have a lease-purchase option, Pete Schwiegeraht of Miller Valentine told the Huntingburg Common Council Tuesday.

“So ultimately,” he said, “over time, the resident will have an option to purchase the home. This encourages and supports home ownership.”

Miller Valentine developed the senior housing — The Lofts at St. Joseph’s — on the former hospital site, which opened in August 2016 and is full. The company also has workforce and senior housing developments in Jasper.

The company always planned to work on other housing projects in Huntingburg, Schwiegeraht said. But that got delayed, because of the housing projects the company was doing in neighboring Jasper, and because it was pursuing the idea of having medical services in the former hospital building; that project, Crossroads Behavioral Health, is underway, he said.

Since the development of The Lofts, there has been a reasonable amount of affordable housing developed in the county. But more is needed, Schwiegeraht said.

“The reason we came to Dubois County was because it was substantially underserved,” he said. “The demand is still there.”

He mentioned that his company’s multiple-bedroom apartments at the Jasper Lofts sold out quickly.

“The market shows that there isn’t much out there for larger families,” he said. “There is a high need for larger units.”

Miller-Valentine will partner with Tri-Cap on the $11 million townhome project, just as it did with The Lofts at St. Joseph’s senior housing project, and the housing projects the company did in Jasper. Schwiegeraht said the project’s construction will go to local companies.

The company will attempt to get housing tax credits from the Indiana Internal Revenue Service’s Rental Housing Tax Credit Program. The company is hoping the city will support the project by contributing incentives through abatements and income tax fund, as well as in-kind services, just like the city did for the senior housing project. That planned support would be documented on Miller Valentine’s application.

Common council members told Schwiegeraht that they look forward to him bringing more concrete plans and designs to the city next month. Councilman Jeff Bounds said he understands there is a need for the housing.

“You look at Hunters Crossing (on the city’s north side); they are constantly adding houses. Other facilities are at capacity,” he said. “You wouldn’t propose a property that you would think would sit half empty. There is a need for quality housing; all the studies point to that.”

The plan is to have the city’s economic development commission review plans in early July and bring those plans to the council later in the month, Mayor Denny Spinner explained.

Schwiegeraht said Miller Valentine hopes to submit its application for tax credits by the state’s July 30 deadline. He would find out in November if the project was awarded the credits. If that happens, construction could start in June 2019 and be completed by August 2020, he said.

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