Factory-to-apartment conversion moves forward


JASPER — Construction on the senior housing project planned for the former Jasper Wood Products building should start later this year and be ready for occupation in 2018.

Pete Schwiegeraht, senior developer for Cincinnati-based Miller-Valentine, shared with the Jasper Economic Development Commission this morning that he expects construction on Vine Street Lofts to start in the late fall or early winter. The commission was considering a tax abatement package be approved for the project.

The Vine Street Lofts housing project is an estimated $12 million project that would create 62 apartments for seniors age 55 and older in the former Jasper Wood Products building, 1316 Vine St. The actual designs for these projects have not yet been completed. The city has committed to contributing $410,000 in development incentives and $50,000 in off-site incentives, such as infrastructure work, like street and utility improvements.

The economic commission reviewed the abatement application this morning while Schwiegeraht was on speakerphone. Because of a scheduling mix-up, Schwiegeraht was not at the meeting in person. But the board wanted to go through the application so the Jasper Common Council would be able to consider the recommendation during its meeting Wednesday night.

Schwiegeraht said that while there will be two permanent full-time positions at the facility, there will be 200 to 300 temporary construction jobs while the facility is remodeled. And there will be about 12,000 square feet of commercial space available in the facility, so that will likely yield new jobs in the future, he said. Schwiegeraht said he didn’t know what kind of commercial venture would be in the space; he mentioned that it could be retail space or office space.

The commission agreed to recommended a 10-year abatement package which would include full tax abatement for the first seven years, 75 percent in the eighth year, 50 percent in the ninth year and 25 percent in the 10th year. The common council will consider that recommendation at its meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 610 Main St. Schwiegeraht said he will be at Wednesday’s meeting to answer any questions council members might have.

As an update, Schwiegeraht said that construction work is progressing on Jasper Lofts I, a $13.1 million plan to construct 60 to 70 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in the former Jofco furniture manufacturing plant, 402 E. 13th St., progresses. That project has been awarded $1,199,705 in state tax credits through the Internal Revenue Service’s Rental Housing Tax Credit program, which the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority administers. The project also has a $450,000 contribution from the City of Jasper, which includes an abatement package expected to generate $230,000, another $50,000 in off-site improvements such as landscaping and streetscaping, and about $170,000 from the city’s economic development income tax fund.

The apartments should be ready by early summer of next year, Schwiegeraht said.

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