East End 1

HENDERSON, Ky. (2/8/19) — Historic Audubon School will be transformed into affordable senior housing, Henderson city officials announced today during a press conference at Henderson’s East End.

Two Indiana developers have received approval from the Kentucky Housing Corp. for the $8.2 million project, Henderson Mayor Steve Austin reported.

Equal Development LLC and the Olynger Corp. announced they will reuse a portion of the existing façade and implement new construction of a three-story elevator building. There will be 49 housing units, with 30 one-bedroom apartments and 19 two-bedroom apartments.

Each year KHC creates a competitive process for developers to apply for and capture affordable housing tax-credits when submitting a successful proposal, city spokeswoman Donna Stinnett reported. Last year, the developers identified Henderson as a location that had not had any KHC funding for new, affordable housing units in more than 13 years.

Stinnett said, once Henderson became their focus, developers contacted Henderson officials to learn that an innovative project for the East End was of interest in fulfilling some housing goals.

The total development cost will be $8.269 million and equity generated by the sale of the housing credits will be $7.03 million, city officials reported.

“Affordable senior housing is an area that has been identified in both our Henderson Vision Plan and The Millennial Plan for 2040 from the Sustainable Evansville Area Coalition as a need for the community,” Austin said. “It is exciting to see the project get funded and it will certainly be an enhancement to other projects that we have seen taking root in the East End.”

Built in 1906 and named for James John Audubon, the famous ornithologist and artist who built the first house in this area of Henderson, the school located at the corner of Clay and Letcher streets served to educate children in the residential neighborhood until 1976, when a boiler explosion caused structural damage to the building and it was closed as a learning institution.

According to the developers, the building will recreate the feeling of the old school, including at least 1,500 square feet of common area, with displays of treasures that “the team can afford to preserve from the history of the old school.”

For this funding cycle, KHC created a scoring category called the Strategic Initiative whereby local businesses could increase the project’s chances of success by making financial or material contributions, Stinnett reported.

“The support this development has received from the city of Henderson has been astonishing with 10 individual community businesses coming together to donate $54,500 toward this development after it was explained that the points for the strategic investment were critical in securing this housing for the community,” said Jessica Gardner, a spokesperson for the developers.

The 10 community collaborators are: Bennett Memorial United Methodist Church, T&T Drugs, SunRon International, Home Oil & Gas, Golden Glaze Bakery, J&J Storage, Pittsburgh Tank & Tower, Royster Machine Shop, Palmer Oil Co. and Field & Main Bank.

Nick Risley
SurfKY News Reporter
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