Stellar funding perks attract housing developer

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — The company that will construct workforce housing at Washington and Fifth streets in Huntingburg has had a lot of experience with constructing apartment complexes.

Paragus Inc. of Indianapolis, has constructed more than 40 apartment complexes, office buildings, homes and retail properties in its 29 years of operation.

But it has never constructed in this part of Indiana.

“This will be our first one in southwest Indiana,” said Gary Ritz, a co-owner of Paragus. “So this part of the state is new for us.”

The company has also never completed a housing project for a community that has been designated by the state as a Stellar Community. That designation and the funding perks that come with it are what attracted Paragus to Huntingburg, Ritz said.

“That makes a lot of difference, in terms of the chances of a project being awarded tax credits by the state,” he said. “Had Huntingburg not been designated as a Stellar Community, we probably would not have even responded to the city’s request for a proposal on an affordable rental housing development.”

Paragus is owned by Ritz and Michael Mance, with Mike Roland being the company’s senior project manager. They have been to Huntingburg many times as they have developed plans for placing a $5.8 million, 56-unit housing development at 419 N. Washington St., the former Wagon Works site. An application requesting $550,000-650,000 in rental housing tax credits, will be submitted to the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority by Monday, the deadline for applications.

Most of Paragus’ developments are in central Indiana. Since its start in 1988, it has constructed housing complexes in multiple communities. Those include the Stonybrook Commons and Kessler Place in Indianapolis, phase two of the Arbor Lakes project and phase two of The Reserve at Dawson’s Creek in Fort Wayne, and Autumn Oaks and Grand Avenue Commons in New Castle. The company has also developed housing complexes in Shelbyville, Lafayette, Plainfield, Anderson, Belleville, Danville, Carmel and Greenwood. Its latest project was in Greenfield — the 62-unit Reflections at Bluestone, done in 2011, and the 44-unit Reflections II, completed in 2014.

Outside of central Indiana, Paragus constructed the Brookview Glen, a 66-unit apartment complex in New Albany, and The Overlook, a 210-unit apartment community in Bellevue, Nebraska, completed in 2001.

“Most of what we have done is apartment communities,” Ritz said. “We’ve built a few houses and a few condominiums and a few offices. But most of what we have done are apartments.”

Ritz was quick to recognize Tri-Cap as a partner on the Huntingburg development. “Tri-Cap had done a lot of work on this project,” he said. “They have made a very valuable contribution to this project moving forward.”

The Jasper-based agency, which serves three counties, has not only helped with gathering information for the tax credits application, it will be heavily involved in providing program services for residents at the development, such as how to save in energy costs, how to learn additional job skills to advance to better-paying positions and other educational opportunities.

“We have not seen a not-for-profit company like Tri-Cap offer as many services as they do,” Ritz said. “And to have a chance to get these tax credits, there needs to be not only a lot of local involvement, but there also needs to be a lot of services provided to the residents.”

The partnership not only strengthens the application for tax credits, Ritz said, it will also benefit the residents who will live in the complex, by helping them become more successful and more involved citizens in the community.




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