Editor’s note: While we 100 percent support any adaptive reuse projects in Pottstown, we are greatly concerned about the involvement of a low-income housing tax credit. This project, if done correctly, could be a HUGE shot in the arm to this neighborhood and solidify the borough’s claim to be moving towards becoming an arts designation (which we 110 percent support).
That being said, private sector investment is needed, not more glorified Section 8 housing. In our humble opinion, this is the “easy way out”. It might be harder to find private sector dollars but the payoff is greater. Other communities are successfully finding investors who are converting old building into MARKET RATE apartments and condominiums. I am all for affordable housing but any involvement of Section 8/low-income funding taints the project.
Pottstown needs to have a better opinion of itself and not settle for the first offer that falls from the sky. Section 8 and low-income housing do not raise property values nor do they change people’s minds about Pottstown. Somebody needs to be courageous and just say no. Find another way.
POTTSTOWN — The moribund plan to transform the former Fecera’s furniture warehouse on Beech Street into artist loft apartments returned to borough council Wednesday night with new backers and a new twist.
Genesis Housing Inc., the non-profit agency which engineered the development of the former Jefferson School into senior rental housing and has rehabilitated dozens or blighted properties in the first ward into owner-occupied homes, is partnering with a Syracuse non-profit housing agency on a $12 million plan to develop the property into 43 apartments targeted toward artists.
The difference is in addition to securing an historic architecture tax credit for the project, the developers, HousingVisions, are also seeking a low-income housing tax credit, the same kind sought in 2010 for the controversial Pearl senior housing proposal along Industrial Highway — and that raised a few eyebrows on borough council.
“I’m still not sold,” Borough Council President Stephen Toroney said. “This is the same tax credit that was sought by the Pearl Group and that was for a 55-and-older community and people still came out and protested.”
Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130607/NEWS01/130609465/43-apartments-planned-for-pottstown-furniture-warehouse#full_story
I also found the quote from Heather Lockwood interesting. I’ve done my best to find a section, within Fair Housing Law, that legally gives preference to arts and literary pursuits. Wouldn’t that open the flood gates to, lets say, low-income Trekkies who are interested in Star Trek? It may be fact because, ironically, our neighbors in Norristown are fending off a tax credit developer who is making the very same claim to give preference to those interested in the arts.
The Mercury said:
The units would be marketed to artists and those interested in the arts with annual incomes in the $20,000 to $50,000 range.
“The law allows us to give preference to those interested in the arts and literary pursuits,” Lockwood said.
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