From blight to beautiful: 800 block of West Washington transformed

 

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News release from the City of Fort Wayne:

From Blight to Beautiful: 800 Block of West Washington Transformed

(May 7, 2013) – Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry joined Belay Corporation officials today in opening the doors to two new and one rehabbed home in the 800 block of West Washington Boulevard.

The three homes, along with a completed home, are part of a partnership between the City of Fort Wayne, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the West Central Neighborhood Association, and local developer Belay Corporation to revitalize homes that had been damaged by fire and decades of neglect.

The homes at 815 and 817 W. Washington Blvd. were deteriorated too badly to rehabilitate so the Historic Preservation Commission approved them for demolition; the Commission also approved the plans for new construction. The homes at 823 and 825 W. Washington Blvd. were rehabilitated; 825 was completed in February 2012 and has already been purchased. Construction was completed by Preston Allen Homes. The City’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services chose the West Washington corridor for development because of its relatively high traffic volume, high visibility and its proximity to other important economic development initiatives going on downtown.

“West Washington is a key corridor out of our downtown,” said Mayor Henry. “Beautifying this block and creating a positive impression for visitors helps not just the homeowners and neighborhood, but also the entire community.”

The City has worked in partnership with Fort Wayne-based Belay Corporation over the last few years to purchase the four adjacent, dilapidated properties on West Washington. The houses, which were previously owned by the City or Allen County, are located within the historic West Central Neighborhood. The neighborhood has been an integral part of the planning and revitalization, ensuring that the homes contribute to the overall character and history of the area.

“This project was a success due to the strong partnership between our neighborhood, various City departments and Belay Corp; none of us could have been successful on our own,” said Susan Smethers, West Central Neighborhood Association president. “Although leaders have changed over the years, the commitment to housing within our historic boundaries has never wavered.”

Most of the funding for this initiative came from HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program dollars directed to the City of Fort Wayne, with the remaining funds coming from Belay Corporation’s construction line of credit. The federal funding will cover the difference between the cost to develop the homes and fair market value. The money that comes back into the program through the sale of the homes will be used for future projects to provide safe, decent, affordable housing and improve local housing stock.

Improvements and repairs to the structures included new roofs, new heating and cooling systems, restored exteriors, restored hardwood floors, updated mechanical systems and updated kitchens and baths. The rehabilitated homes and newly constructed homes conform to the federal and local historic district standards.

The homes at 815 and 817 are listed for sale at $88,000 and the home at 823 is listed at $85,000 (these are the appraised market values). Belay Corporation is the owner and is selling the properties to buyers who meet income qualifications and who intend to live there for at least five years. Because of federal funding requirements, the buyers will need to have a household income at or below 80 percent of area median income, which is approximately $49,500 for a family of four.

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