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Higher costs force housing project cuts

Springfield will get 26-unit complex and 4 duplexes as part of $5.5 million plan.

One less housing unit will be built as part of Interfaith Hospitality Network’s Mulberry Terrace homeless supportive housing project because of increased construction costs.

The original $5.5 million plan called for a 26-unit complex to be built at 120 Mulberry Street, along with five other scattered site duplexes. Under the new plan, the project will allow for four duplexes to be built, eliminating one planned for Race Street.

A tentative date for groundbreaking was scheduled for Jan. 31, but was pushed back to early March due to changes to the project, according Elaina Bradley, IHN’s Executive Director.

“We haven’t closed on the project, so we had to push that back,” Bradley said.

The project saw an increase in construction costs after increases in the federal Housing and Urban Development department’s prevailing wage. The Springfield Metropolitan Housing Authority has committed to apply project-based vouchers to the development, requiring the project to pay Davis-Bacon Act wage rates.

The rate increases caused a nearly $188,000 project shortfall, according to Bradley.

In some cases, construction workers salaries increased by almost 100 percent, including fringe benefits. For example, a Bobcat operator working on the project would’ve been paid $20.45 per hour, but with the recent increase, they will now be making $40.65. General laborers wages increased from $9.87 to $26.73.

After meeting with the development team, which includes RLH Properties and the city of Springfield, the decision was made to construct one less property.

They’ve sent revisions to the plans to funding partners, including the city, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and Ohio Equity Fund for Housing Limited Partnership XXIII.

“Once those modifications are completed, we can go through closing,” Bradley said.

Shannon Meadows, the city’s community development director, said permanent supportive housing is something Springfield has needed for many years. The loss of one duplex won’t diminish the development’s overall impact on the community.

“(The complex) is a critical need within the community,” Meadows said. “The ability to provide that service within the city is paramount to our needs as a continuum of care.”

The complex will be the first of its kind in Springfield to offer a range of services on site designed to keep people and families out of homelessness.

The development will offer supportive services on site, including an Interfaith case manager to work with tenants. The Rocking Horse Community Health Center will have an office on the first floor of the building to provide physical and behavioral health services. McKinley Hall and the Mental Health Recovery Board and the Board of Developmental Disabilities have committed to provide services for the facility.

Last April, Interfaith received nearly $600,000 in state tax credits for the development. It also recently received an Affordable Housing Program grant worth $358,200 from the Federal Home Loan of Cincinnati, through Huntington National Bank. Interfaith also received a HOME loan from the city worth $350,000 to help fund the project.

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