IOWA CITY — Nearly 30 units of low-income housing will be available in the Riverfront Crossings District next year.
Construction began last month on the Del Ray Ridge building. Developed by the Housing Fellowship of Johnson County and built by Hodge Construction, the new building will have 33 one- and two-bedroom apartments, 29 of which will be income-targeted and four that will be market rate. The building will be five stories, including underground parking.
The project is the first of its kind for the Housing Fellowship, said Executive Director Maryann Dennis.
“Del Ray Ridge is our first multifamily building,” she said. “We do own some scattered condo units throughout Johnson County, but not one whole building. Largely, our rental properties are single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes.”
Dennis said the Housing Fellowship doesn’t have any one-bedroom rental properties and staff members believe there is a demand for those types of units.
“We think this building being adjacent to downtown and a lot of services will hopefully attract people that are a little older or persons with disabilities,” she said, noting also that single parents or small families also will be interested in the units.
Dennis said all the units can be adapted to be accessible for tenants with wheelchairs. Four units will have additional Americans with Disabilities Act accommodations such as roll-in showers, roll-under sinks and side-by-side — rather than stacked — washers and dryers.
According to the city’s zoning requirements for the Riverfront Crossings District, any building with more than 10 housing units must establish at least 10 percent of those residences as affordable housing. Tracy Hightshoe, the city’s director of Neighborhood And Development Services, said the rates for the Del Ray Ridge units will be based on the median income in Iowa City, which can vary based on household size but is around $60,000, according to information on the city’s website. Four units will be available to people who make 30 percent of the median income, five units for those at 40 percent of the median income and 20 will have rents for people at 60 percent of the median income.
“The remainder are unrestricted, but they also don’t get reduced rent,” Hightshoe said.
Hightshoe said the Del Ray Ridge building fits the city’s goal of having affordable housing throughout Iowa City.
“It’s a long-term investment in affordable housing that puts people close to downtown,” Hightshoe said. “We just like it for the diversity of housing. ... We hope that every neighborhood in Iowa City provides a diversity of housing and price points.”
Hightshoe said the project promotes sustainability in Iowa City, as those who live close to downtown are more likely to walk or bike to downtown.
Dennis said the project will provide access to employment options downtown and promote stability within the Riverfront Crossings neighborhood. The average length of stay for a tenant in a Housing Fellowship project is 53 months, Dennis said.
“If people have a choice of where they live and if they can afford their housing and — most importantly — if they like it, then they stay,” she said. “Stability does a lot for people as far as mental and physical health. ... Stable households contribute to more stable neighborhoods, and stable neighborhoods contribute to stable communities.”
The $6.8 million project is anticipated to be complete next May with the Housing Fellowship taking applications this winter. The project received approximately $4.6 million in low-income housing tax credits from the Iowa Finance Authority. The Trust Fund of Johnson County contributed $800,000 to the project, and Iowa City provided $330,000 for the project plus another $150,000 to complete sewer work at the site.
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“There have been a lot of good partners that have been involved,” Dennis said. “It’s going to be a good project.”
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