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People Inc. acquires Jefferson Avenue properties, seeks tax break

A planned new affordable housing project on Jefferson Avenue is moving forward, after the nonprofit agency sponsoring the project took possession of a dozen properties from the developer who owned them.

People Inc. is working with developers Nick Sinatra and David Pawlik on a $31.1 million plan to build two three-story residential buildings with 89 apartments, to be located at 1140 and 1166 Jefferson.

Plans call for 79 of the units to be designated for households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income, with the remaining 10 reserved for middle-income households earning up to 90 percent of the area median. The project would also include one caretaker's apartment, some community space for the nonprofit and ground-floor commercial space for stores and small businesses.

According to a memo from the city's Office of Strategic Planning to the Common Council, the apartments will each include either one or two bedrooms, plus a kitchen, living room and dining area, bathroom, linen closet, an entry closet and a private porch. The one-bedroom units will have about 625 square feet, while the two-bedroom apartments will have about 850 square feet.

The memo said the kitchens would feature granite countertops with a counter that extends into the dining area, as well as energy-efficient stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers. The bathrooms would have ceramic tile, while the rest of the flooring would be luxury vinyl plank.

The two buildings would also each have a large community room with a small kitchen, on-site laundry facilities, "ample green space," a playground, rain gardens, planting areas, window seats, courtyards and off-street parking, according to the memo. Public art would be included in the open spaces.

The 16,470 square feet of commercial space would be leased back to Sinatra, who would sublease it to other tenants to ensure needed income to the project, the memo said.

People Inc. plan to build apartments on Jefferson Avenue gains support

Sinatra and People are co-developing the project, with Pawlik's Creative Structures Services as the contractor for the construction work, valued at $19 million without other expenses. CSS is currently conducting the site work for the brownfield cleanup of the site, Pawlik said.

A total of 19 properties and 2.4 acres of land are involved, bounded by Jefferson, Dodge Road and Northampton and Southampton streets. Earlier this month, People Inc., through its Jefferson Avenue Housing Development Fund Co., paid $473,684 to buy 12 of the properties from 1200 Jefferson Properties, which is controlled by Sinatra.

The acquired land includes 1130, 1132, 1152, 1164, 1166 and 1192 Jefferson; 323, 325 and 329 Northampton; 280 and 282 Southampton; and 342 Dodge. Those sites would be consolidated into the two primary addresses.

Meanwhile, the city and county are also preparing a 15-year property tax break for the project, with a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes that starts at $33,690 and increases year by year until it reaches $50,959.

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