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home : business : business July 26, 2017

2/28/2017 1:51:00 PM
Apartment complex expected next year
By Sue Stafford

If everything goes according to plan, a new 48-unit affordable-housing apartment complex will be providing housing by spring 2018 for renters who earn no more than 60 percent of the median income for Deschutes County.

At an open house last Thursday at Sisters City Hall, Sisters residents were able to view preliminary drawings and elevations for the units. Tom Kemper and Keith Wooden of HousingWorks were on hand to answer questions and provide information to interested citizens.

The development will occupy two separate parcels of land along Brooks Camp Road, behind Ray's Food Place. The larger parcel, which is also bounded by West McKinney Butte Road, will accommodate 32 one-bedroom, 600-square-foot apartments; four two-bedroom, 900-square-foot units; and four three-bedroom 1,100-square-foot townhomes and 48 parking spaces. The other parcel will have eight two- and three-bedroom townhomes and 17 parking spaces.

There will be a large community room and manager's office in the development. There will be electric heat in all units, which will be furnished with stacking washers and dryers. Half of the one-bedroom apartments will be located on the ground floor, with a couple of fully ADA compliant units and several others adaptable to accommodate special needs.

Wooden indicated they are hopeful to have the final closing on the property by July 1, 2017, and they are ready to start site work the very next day. The same architect and contractor will be doing this project and a 42-unit project in La Pine at the same time, affording economies of scale and allowing for one loan and one equity investor for both projects. Affordable-housing projects are difficult deals to put together, so developers look for every way to reduce construction costs, according to Wooden.

Last fall, upholding their promise to do something about affordable housing, the Sisters City Council agreed to earmark $300,000 in City funds to help facilitate the project. The total funding is coming from a LIFT fund grant from the State of Oregon, HousingWorks, City of Sisters, and equity investors who buy tax credits.

The project has been pre-approved by the City's Community Development Department that has laid out requirements that must be met. The next phase is up to the design team and the land-use team, who will need to secure all the necessary permits and entitlements before actual construction begins.

The original idea for the complex was for all two- and three-bedroom townhomes like the current Tamarack Village apartments. After listening to the citizens and conducting a market study, plans were changed to a majority of one-bedroom units to meet the housing needs of seniors and single working people.

The monthly rental is currently forecast to be $599 for a one-bedroom, $718 for a two-bedroom, and $825 for a three-bedroom unit.

About three months before completion of the project, or about midwinter 2018, leasing activity will begin, with checks on prospective tenants to be sure they meet the income qualifications.

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