The proposed LaBelle Greene housing development would represent about a $6 million investment in the South Wheeling community, the developer planning the project said.
City officials and Woda Group Inc., provided additional details about the project during Tuesday's City Council meeting. During that meeting, council members voted unanimously to adopt the Jacob Street Corridor Community Revitalization Plan, a document Woda hopes will boost its application for a competitive tax credit plan offered through the West Virginia Housing Development Fund.
According to Woda Group Senior Vice President Thomas Simons, the project otherwise will be privately funded and the company is not asking for any money from the city.
Photo by Ian Hicks
Wheeling Councilman David Miller, right, comments on an issue during Tuesday’s City Council meeting as Mayor Andy McKenzie, left, and Vice Mayor Eugene Fahey listen.
The 40 townhouses - two-story, two-bedroom units with individual garages - would be built on a vacant, two-acre plot of land off 32nd Street, just south of the former LaBelle Nail Plant.
Maximum income for tenants would range from $22,800 for a single person to $32,250 for a family of four, with rent between $375 and $600 per month.
Simons said his company sees an opportunity to provide needed affordable housing as rents in the area continue to soar.
"Wheeling is a great market. ... The (natural gas) industry has taken a toll on some of the rental options that are available," Simons said.
The development remains in the early planning stages, and construction likely wouldn't begin until next year even if Woda is successful in obtaining the tax credits. The company has a purchase option on the property and likely will learn whether its application has been approved by late July or early August.
A denial of Woda's application wouldn't necessarily scuttle the project but would be a significant setback as the tax credits are handed out on a yearly basis, according to Simons. But he said he's excited about the project and grateful for the city's support.
"South Wheeling needs revitalization," Simons said.
"It's a wonderful part of the city that's been neglected."
Also approved during Tuesday's meeting was a $192,000 contract with Kelly Paving of Rayland to re-surface portions of Edgington Lane, Lane A, Knox Lane, Courtland Avenue, Nichols Avenue and Kelly Drive.
The funding will come from municipal sales tax collections.