Apartment plan gets state boost
By JAKE WEBSTER and DOUGLAS BURNS
A long-standing Jefferson apartment complex moved closer to a dramatic rehabilitation with approval of state grants, said Adam Schweers, managing partner and one-third owner of the Court Street LLC development firm.
The Jefferson apartment complex, which his firm plans to name the Wilson Street Suites, would feature 12 units in what had been called the White Apartments a block and a half south of the Square.
The apartments could be modernized at a projected cost of $950,000 as soon as next summer.
The state recently awarded $135,000 in sales tax and workforce housing credits. That will boost the project along with a 10-year local tax abatement and $75,000 facade improvement grant.
“It was really eye opening to have a project that lines up with workforce at a time when we’re all talking about housing,” said Schweers, a former mayor of Carroll.
The apartments had been owned by the late Carroll White’s son, Richard, who lives out of state. The Greene County Development Corp. purchased it from White for $110,000 and sold it to Court Street for $35,000.
The building itself is centrally located in Jefferson and within walking distance of several other businesses in the city’s downtown, a feature Schweers highlighted.
“We love redoing real estate close to downtown … to allow tenants to have walkability,” he said.
Schweers added, “The location is key for us. I wouldn’t have done anything on the outside of town.”
The apartment building has been sitting empty for about 15 years, said Ken Paxton, development director for Greene County.
The previous owner gutted the interior, took asbestos out and installed a new roof, Paxton added. The new developers have further plans for the building.
The back concrete wall has “some structural issues,” so the developers plan to entirely remove it and redo it at the second story level, moving it back 8 feet to create a “covered back porch” for people to set out chairs and grills. Schweers said they also are going to work with Alliant Energy on some “energy-saving processes.”
“We are a nonsmoking building, so we like to provide a nice environment for our tenants (if they choose to smoke),” Schweers said.
Having previously worked on units in Carroll, Schweers noted this development is different from past projects.
“It’s a little bit more of a unique project, because it’s the smallest project we’ve done, because we wanted to keep our rate of rent at a reasonable price range for the workforce to live in,” he said.
With the opening last fall of The Forge, Accenture’s software development branch in Jefferson, Paxton said there are going to be “a lot of young graduates who are going to be going into a technology training program at The Forge, and so the goal is to have housing for them and keep them in the community.”
Schweers said “assuming everything comes together with income and expense” they are targeting rents of $650 for the one-bedroom units, $750 for the two-bedroom units and $900 for the three-bedroom unit.
“The city of Jefferson, the economic development group, everybody over there has just been amazing to work with,” he said. “They really have all their stuff together, they’re organized, they’re excited about making the community better, and it’s been a really neat process to be involved with so far.”
Schweers said Court Street plans to work with as many Jefferson area contractors as possible.
“Everybody here seems to be motivated to move the town forward,” Schweers said.