St. Louis-based affordable housing developer Bywater Development Group plans to renovate the former Charles D. Jacob Elementary School located east of the Shively neighborhood.
Two historic buildings that comprised the Jacob School will house 57 high-quality, energy-efficient apartments, common areas, activity spaces, a library/computer lab and other program areas, according to a news release from Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government. The project also includes landscaped open space, recreation/picnic areas, walking trails and community garden plots.
“There is a strong need throughout the community for (affordable senior housing) that has modern amenities,” Aaron Burnett, president of Bywater Development Group, told Insider Louisville, adding that the company “would be ecstatic” to develop more projects in Louisville.
The entire project will cost roughly $11 million, about 75 percent of which will be covered by historic and affordable housing tax credits, Burnett said. Construction will begin toward the end of the year, and the apartments will be ready to lease in late 2017 or early 2018.
The apartments will feature energy-efficient equipment such as individual HVAC systems, hot water heaters, kitchen appliances, low-flow faucets and valves, and EnergyStar-rated lighting fixtures.
“The redevelopment of this site will mean a great deal to those both living in the units and in the neighborhood,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in the release. “The project will add to our highly needed number of affordable housing units and will remove a hub of crime, vandalism and blight.”
It was actually planning and development staff with Louisville Metro that suggested the school as ripe for redevelopment, Burnett said.
“It really seemed to be a development that falls into our wheelhouse,” he told IL. And “Louisville Metro really got on board for the vision.”
Louisville Metro also has allocated $2 million in Community Block Development Grant (CBDG) funding to the project, covering most of the remaining expenses. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds the CBDG program.
The school, located at 3701 E. Wheatmore Drive, closed in 1991 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. It was built in 1912 and added onto in 1932, the release states. After it closed, it was a regular target for vandalism.
“Not only does it allow seniors to stay in their community; it will also transform this neighborhood for the better,” Louisville Metro Councilwoman Marianne Butler (D-15) said in the release.
Bywater Development Group currently is developing similar projects in Berkley, Mo.; Lubbock, Texas; Edmond, Oka. and Springfield, Ill.