Marlborough partnership proposes redevelopment of abandoned school

Marlborough proposes turning vacant school into mixed income housing // photo courtesy of Rodger Kube

South Kansas City’s Marlborough neighborhood hopes to transform the vacant Marlborough Elementary School building into mixed income housing units. The Marlborough Community Coalition and the Marlborough Community Land Trust have partnered with developer Prairie Fire Development Group to propose this plan to the Missouri Housing Development Corporation. The partners hope to use the 9 percent Low Income Taxing Credits in executing the project. Created in 1986, the LIHTC project allows, “private investors receive a federal income tax credit as an incentive to make equity investments in affordable rental housing,” as stated by the Urban Institute’s LIHTC research report.

Located at 1300 E. 75th Street, the partners plan to turn the school into 37 one and two-bedroom loft-style apartment units. Additionally, they plan to build 18 one and two-bedroom row houses on 75th Street and Virginia Avenue, so that the lofts and row houses face each other.

The project answers the demand for affordable housing in the area and targets varying audiences. If successful, the new housing will offer the opportunity for families, seniors, and retirees, and workforce members to live in an established neighborhood at a fair price.

Each partner will also play a part in the creative process. MCC, will offer a combination of on-site and easily accessible programs and services which will be responsive to the resident’s needs and connect them to all the wider neighborhood community has to offer. MCLT will help tenants transition from renting a home to owning a home. This will allow tenants to build generational social and economic capital.  Both organizations are focused on further developing the neighborhood and its people without displacement.

Additional row houses will face the lofts // Photo courtesy of Rodger Kube

“This is a game-changing model for the use of LIHTC funds,” said Rodger Kube, President of the MCLT Board of Directors.  “Not only will existing Marlborough residents be able to find quality affordable rental units, but through the MCC/MCLT partnership model, they will be supported if they want to move into homeownership.  Because the community owns the land, the value of the tax credits is retained with the land, not lost to the market, ensuring that a LIHTC investment will provide affordable housing for low-income people in perpetuity.  In this time when the need for affordable housing is so critical, these credits can go farther in creating housing stability, more wealth, and better quality of life for our residents.”

Another element of the project’s proposal states that at the end of the 15-year credit life, the entire development will be owned by the community. This addition will help maintain housing affordability for Marlborough far into the future.

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