New home build part of Springfield southside revitalization plan

The goal is to build or rehabilitate 15 homes in an area that has seen demolition and disinvestment.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

As part of an effort to increase affordable housing on Springfield’s south side, a nonprofit plans to rehabilitate and build 15 new homes, depending on funding.

The project — led by 1159 South Community Development Corporation (CDC) and in partnership with The Carpenter Group with Gallery Homes Real Estate — aims to build more homes for those in need in southwest Springfield.

Lori Searcy, president and co-founder of 1159 South CDC, said since 2019, the nonprofit has acquired several properties in the area from the land bank, mainly on South Yellow Springs Street, where a more than $4 million road reconstruction project is underway.

“We just believe that if there are investments made in this community, people will realize the value, because it’s a wonderful place,” Searcy said.

They recently broke ground on the first new build for the project at 1108 S. Yellow Springs St., Searcy said. So far, two other homes have been rehabilitated and sold.

Mo Carpenter, team leader for The Carpenter Group, said the goal is to increase the availability of quality affordable homes in an up-and-coming area. He said there is growing interest in the south side.

“A lot of it is people are from there, so there’s an allure of just being back where they’re from and the south side is known for its close-knit family, so that’s helping,” Carpenter said. “We’re seeing a lot more businesses going to the south side ... that’s just going to continue to drive that demand.”

The area is part of a Community Reinvestment Area, meaning any homes with new property improvements are eligible for a 15-year tax abatement, Searcy said. This means new homeowners will not have to pay property taxes for 15 years and will only have land taxes.

1159 South CDC is also offering an affordability subsidy for anyone who can commit to living in the home for five years and makes less than 80% of the area median income, Searcy said.

“We offer a subsidy of up to $25,000 to help low-income people who are otherwise qualified to sort of put in competitive bids for the house,” Searcy said.

To keep the homes affordable, they will be sold under cost and under $200,000 — something that is uncommon for a new build.

Each renovated home so far has been converted into a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom single-family home, and the new build will be the same, Searcy said.

If the new build goes on the market rather than being sold beforehand, it will be the first new home in the area in decades, Carpenter said.

1159 South CDC’s mission is to improve affordable housing and economic conditions and engage the community, Searcy said.

“We were founded by a group of individuals who grew up in southwest Springfield, love southwest Springfield and saw the deterioration that was happening, and so we decided that somebody needed to step in and do something about it, and so we did,” Searcy said.

1159 South CDC is doing its best to overcome decades of demolition, disinvestment and neglect of the south side, Searcy said.

The Carpenter Group will have a table talk about new southside housing from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Gallery Homes Real Estate, 2 W. Columbia St., suite 200. It is for potential new home buyers to learn more about the efforts and prepare them to buy. Those with questions should email thecarpentergroupohio@gmail.com or call 614-623-8268.

Southside revitalization is happening through other organizations too, Searcy said, with another emphasis being on added green space and more businesses coming to the area.

Last weekend, The Conscious Connect dedicated a new neighborhood park and Ohio Historical Marker on Woodward Avenue to Sully Jaymes, one of the area’s first Black lawyers who was a civil rights advocate.

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