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Housing project moves forward
ISLAND CITY — Construction of the $8.2 million Blue Springs Crossing apartment complex may begin later this year, according to a representative of the company in charge of building the proposed low income housing project.
“We fully expect to begin construction (in 2014),” said J. Daniel Steffey of Guardian Real Estate Services.
Steffey is the senior vice president for development with Guardian Real Estate, a Portland firm set to oversee the construction of the
Guardian Real Estate may submit a development plan to the City of Island City later this month.
“We hope to submit the development plan to Island City by the end of January,” said Jessy Olson, the development project project manager for Guardian Real Estate Services.
Dale De Long, the mayor of Island City, said that once the development plan is submitted, the city will determine if its plans conform with all zoning ordinances and codes.
“We will look extensively to make sure there are no development code violations,’’ De Long said.
Should any portion of the plan not meet requirements of the development code the city would have to grant variances before the building project could proceed. Steffey anticipates that the plan submitted will meet all requirements of Island City’s building code.
“That is fully our intent,” Steffey said.
Should Guardian Real Estate’s development plan be approved the firm would then be able to apply for building permits from the city.
Guardian Real Estate is in the process of firming up the financing for the $8.2 million project. The firm received a boost in late November when it was awarded a $7.9 million tax credit package from the state for the project through the state’s Affordable Housing Program, Steffey said. The biggest portion of this package is a tax credit of $689,811 that Guardian Real Estate will receive annually for 10 years.
Construction of Blue Springs Crossing would take about a year, Steffey said. Once completed, the low income housing complex would be owned and managed by the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority.
At Island City Council meetings last summer, some community members and councilors said they were leery of having a housing complex for low income residents. They expressed concerns regarding the upkeep of the complex. Dale Inslee, executive director of the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority, said that people have no reason for concern. Inslee speaks with pride of the buildings managed by the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority, stating they have been well maintained for years.
“Based on past history the community will be very appreciative,” Inslee said.
He said that the property value around the complex will go up because of the quality and upkeep of the Blue Springs Crossing housing units.
“It will look as good or better than any housing development nearby,” Inslee said. “It will be a beautiful building, a big boost to the area.”
The 38 units at Blue Mountain Crossing would add to the approximately 210 units the Northeast Oregon Housing Authority owns and manages in Union, Wallowa and Baker counties.
“We think it will be a very positive contribution to the city,” Steffey said. “It will provide good quality housing for the work force in the community.”