A True Renaissance?

The following is another article posted recently in the Journal Gazette regarding the recent announcements surrounding the Renaissance Pointe project.  When I personally see a development targeting urban blight, complete with new infrastructure, new public facilities, and new residential options, new possibilities for commercial and multi-family, and last but not least… in a near downtown neighborhood, I believe we are moving in the right direction. One thing I’d be interested to know is what type of impact this will have on the tax base.  Browsing through online posts and comments on local news sites, there appears to be a heated debate on weather this particular project is a proper use of tax dollars.  So tell us, what do you think about the Renaissance Pointe project?  Renaissance or renovated slum?  Be sure to leave you comments below.

For many years, most local home building has been at the city’s fringes, helping push geographic growth but also encouraging sprawl. So the scene unfolding in the Hanna-Creighton neighborhood is a welcome change, particularly for a neighborhood that has struggled with a diminishing supply of decent housing.

Where vacant lots once lay barren, new houses are sprouting, part of the aptly named Renaissance Pointe. After years of discussion, revisions and planning, the first of a remarkable 66 single-family homes being built in the southeast neighborhood was open for public view Saturday. More than 300 people – including City Council members Glynn Hines and Geoff Paddock – toured the model home at 2301 John St.

By the end of the month, five of the homes will be ready for occupancy, and builder Ideal Suburban Homes of Decatur will complete eight in each succeeding month.

“It was really gratifying to see the interest and feel the energy,” said Rebecca Karcher, director of community engagement for the city’s Community Development Department. Karcher was glad to see people of all ages, including many from the neighborhood but also “several who were very interested and many who have never been to the neighborhood before.”

Former Mayor Graham Richard launched the ambitious Renaissance project just before the long-festering mortgage meltdown sank housing prices and greatly curbed home lending.

Later, under Mayor Tom Henry, the city worked with Ideal and reached agreement to build rental homes. Long-term tenants have a rent-to-own opportunity.

“If you look at the average citizen of Fort Wayne, 35 percent are renters,” said Jessica Baker, regional manager for Biggs Property Management, a sister company to Ideal that is managing the rentals. “This is an exciting way for people to rent and to establish their credit.”

Rents are $274 to $674 per month, with electric and gas utility costs expected to average just $100 a month because of energy-efficient appliances included in the rent price. Residents will be offered classes that help them learn to manage their finances.

The homes are along John Street, Gay Street and Weisser Park Avenue, between Creighton Avenue and Pontiac Street. They are within walking distance of the popular new Renaissance Pointe YMCA and also close to the campus that includes the Fort Wayne Urban League, the Allen County Library Pontiac Street Branch and CANI Head Start.

Just as those projects helped bring optimism to the neighborhood, families moving into new rental homes should spur more.

“I think the more rooftops that are done and the more families that move in is going to build momentum,” Karcher said.

The project is a product of a beneficial mix of private investment, state tax credits and contributions of federal money assigned to the city.

Though national mortgage woes and other setbacks delayed and changed the project, the Henry administration kept working at it, and the result is new homes affordable to tenants in a part of the city that needs them.

-Journal Gazette

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Categories: Goverment, Housing, Renaissance Pointe

3 Comments on “A True Renaissance?”

  1. February 16, 2012 at 7:31 AM #

    Yes I believe it is just low income housing at this point, as you must earn not earn more than 60% of the average local wage to qualify. One point worth noting is that this is intended to be a massive project, and this is only a portion which was changed to ren-to-own as they felt the economy demanded What will be nice is when there is an announcement of market rate housing but I’m not sure when that will happen.

  2. Wesley
    February 16, 2012 at 7:18 AM #

    They are just building low-income rent to own homes at this point. It’s rather disappointing that this is what every project in Fort Wayne turns in to. At any rate, at least it isn’t section 8 housing or anything and it does still improve the area. I also like that I see investment from private developers in the area.

  3. netwerkonebax
    February 15, 2012 at 6:12 PM #

    One thing I don’t understand, are they still building homes that are actually for sale or just rent to own?

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