South Side Lofts project gets green light on funding

By - Last modified: March 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM

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Artists Rendering of St. Stanislaus portion of the proposed South Side lofts.
Artists Rendering of St. Stanislaus portion of the proposed South Side lofts.

Developers of the 46-unit South Side Lofts project planned for Bethlehem have received necessary funding to continue with its $11 million project.

Last week, the Housing Development Corp. MidAtlantic was awarded $868,343 in federal tax credits through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

"Everyone is very excited that we got to this milestone and we're ready to go," said Ian Rawhauser, real estate development analyst with HDC Mid-Atlantic.

The project was one out of 17 awardees chosen to receive the tax credits. A total of 47 projects went out for the funding.

"It was a very competitive process," Rawhauser said.

Now that funding has been secured, the company said it can go forward with submitting full engineering plans to the city's planning commission for approval.

Rawhauser said the company hopes to be able to close on the financing in August and construction could begin as early as fall.

"We're looking at a 12-month construction and leasing could happen as soon as late summer or early fall 2014," Rawhauser said.

The company will be looking for local subcontractors to complete the project, he said.

The two-location project will be constructed at the former St. Stanislaus Church at 419-429 Hayes St. This portion, which also includes artists' lofts, received approval from the Bethlehem Zoning Board last year.

Plans for the project were presented in September by Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan at a press conference held outside the church. Callahan said there he believed the neighborhood would indeed benefit from additional affordable housing.

"We have seen a growing need for affordable housing particularly on the South Side in the last few years," Callahan said. "Projects like Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem bring lots of jobs and the workforce needs housing. The demand for affordable housing is a good indicator of a city's economic health."

An additional $700,000 in funding will be provided by the city through funding it secured via the federal Housing and Urban Development office's HOME program.

The development will be constructed at the site of the Quonset hut at 420 Atlantic Street where an 18-unit structure will be built. The three-story structure will contain two-and three-bedroom apartments and will offer 22 parking spaces. The second project is planned for the site where the former St. Stanislaus Catholic Church sits at 419-429 Hayes St. This site will house 28 one-and two- bedroom apartments and provide 26 parking spaces.

The 106-year-old church sanctuary will undergo a historically-sensitive restoration and will be repurposed as a community and gallery space.

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