Mission council moves affordable senior housing project forward with some debate

The rendering shows the latest concept for the senior housing project called Herald Corner. The developer held community design meetings to work on the look for the building.
The rendering shows the latest concept for the senior housing project called Herald Corner. The developer held community design meetings to work on the look for the building.

A proposed 32-unit affordable senior housing project on Mission’s west end is still moving forward, but may run into some resistance along the way at the city council.

The developer, Brinshore Development, has asked the city for letters of support so the company can apply for low income tax credits from the state. The tax credits account for a substantial portion of the planned financing for the project. The apartments are planned for the site of the old Neff Printing next to Panera along Metcalf Avenue.

Councilors attending a committee session Wednesday night agreed to move it onto the council agenda, but engaged in a lengthy discussion about the merits of the project. Councilor Amy Miller said some people in the city “don’t think low-income senior housing is the best … for the city; they don’t see it as bringing growth and development into the city.”

“I think this is a really good project,” Councilor Lawrence Andre said, suggesting it could free up housing and lead to re-greening in some neighborhoods. “(We are) undersupplied in senior housing, Andre said, “there is going to be an explosion in senior housing.”

A study commissioned by the city also showed that other options for the property might be difficult to get to market. The small size of the lot and the limited access point would make it hard to develop profitably for retail, commercial office or hotel property, the study suggested. Additional property would have to be acquired to make some of those ventures possible.

Councilor Debbie Kring also voiced reservations about the plan. “I think we need senior housing, but not at that location,” she said. “Do you know how much revenue we miss along Metcalf? It’s a real dilemma for me.”

The developer has made it clear if he doesn’t get the tax credits, the project isn’t viable, councilor Dave Shepard pointed out. “I like the project.” Shepard suggested the city should support the tax credit application and then debate the specifics if the developer can move forward.

One of those issues is likely to be the use of some public financing tool such as Tax Increment Financing or Community Improvement District. Community Development Director Martin Rivarola told the council members to expect a request for financing help if the state tax credit application is successful.

The city owns the property and Rivarola said a purchase price has not been agreed upon pending appraisals and environmental studies.