A modern makeover is planned for the White Apartments, located just south of the Square.Before its sale last month, the apartment building known as the White Apartments had been sitting empty for about 15 years.

New lease on life eyed for White apts.

Work could begin this summer on new ‘Wilson Street Suites’

By JAKE WEBSTER

For The Jefferson Herald

Former Carroll mayor Adam Schweers, managing partner and one-third owner of the Court Street LLC development firm, said a vacant Jefferson apartment complex a block and a half south of the Square will be renamed the Wilson Street Suites and will feature 12 units.

The apartments — known as the White Apartments — had been owned by the late Carroll White’s son, Richard, who lives out of state.

The Greene County Development Corp. purchased it last month from White for $110,000 and sold it to Court Street for $35,000. The sale is contingent on the receipt of state tax credits for the development.

Should the project move ahead, Schweers said it will have three one-bedroom apartments, eight two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartment, all at “market rate.”

Schweers said the project is “kind of in limbo right now,” with developers waiting to hear back regarding Workforce Housing Tax Credit and Sales Tax Credit applications they recently sent in to the Iowa Economic Development Authority. 

If they don’t get the tax credit, he said they would have to “get creative,” adding he thinks it would “slow down how quickly we will move.”

Developers plan to move quickly if they receive the tax credits, though, he said.

“If we are awarded the tax credits we hope to start by August and complete (the project) by July of 2021,” Schweers said.

The building itself is centrally located in Jefferson and within walking distance of businesses in the city’s downtown, a feature Schweers highlighted.

“We love redoing real estate close to downtown ... to allow tenants to have walkability,” Schweers said.

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 the 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 they plan to entirely remove it and redo it at the second story level, moving it back eight feet to create a “covered back porch” for people to set out chairs and grills. 

Schweers said they are also 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 of The Forge, Accenture’s software development branch, in Jefferson last fall, 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.

While the project remains in a holding pattern, Schweers offered kind words to those he has worked with in Jefferson.

“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.”

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