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Housing Authority may purchase abandoned downtown building


The Housing Authority of Corbin is mulling a plan to purchase the old Thomasville Furniture building in downtown Corbin in order to utilize it for apartments and street level retail space.

The Greater Corbin Housing Authority is not only beginning the actual work to turn the former East Ward School into income-based housing. It is also taking on a new project, converting the former Thomasville Furniture building into apartments and commercial space.

The housing authority recently submitted the winning bid on the building at the corner of Second and Main streets in downtown Corbin. The building. Prior to Thomasvile Furniture, the building was the home of J.C. Penney.

Details on the purchase have not been released, as it has not been finalized pending a title search.

Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney said initial plans call for renovating the upstairs area to create four or five apartments while dividing the main floor into smaller commercial spaces.

The apartments will target young professionals and others who want to experience downtown living.

Corbin Main Street Manager Andrew Salmons said the commercial spaces are ideal for starter businesses that want a downtown location but want to reduce overhead expenses.

More than two years after the housing authority paid $313,000 for the former school building on Master Street, all of the planning and fund raising will be turning into moving brick and mortar.

"Work should be starting this week," said Dora Mobley, secretary of the housing authority of the plans to turn the former school building into 32 two-bedroom apartments that will be leased on an income-based criteria.

If everything remains on schedule, Mobley said the apartments should be ready to rent in 18 months.

The $4.5 million project involves gutting the building, removing asbestos and lead and installing new wiring. Additions to the building on the 1.79 acres of property are included in the plans.

Financing has been difficult," Mobley said when, asked what has held up the project. "We thought it would close in July but it just closed last week."

The project is being funded through a tax credit grant. Mobley explained that companies purchase the credits, and the funds are used to build affordable housing.

"That's how government builds the affordable properties, now days," Mobley said previously.

Because of that, Mobley said all of the funding is in place and the project should continue uninterrupted until it is complete.

"The money is in the bank and ready to spend," Mobley said.

It will be at least a year before the housing authority is ready to take applications for the East Ward apartments. 

Mobley said the housing authority currently has 155 public housing units. There are typically 80 to 85 people on the waiting list for public housing at any given time, who usually wait six months to a year for housing.

 

Comments

Why? (November 30, 2012) Reply

4.5 million to renovate plus the original purchase price means that we, as taxpayers, are spending more than $150,000 per two bedroom apartment. Why not build some nice 2 bedroom houses instead of cramming 32 families into an apartment building on less than 2 acres of land?

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