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Downtown senior living for Peru?

New development creates competition for senior housing in town

The former Amcore Bank property in downtown Peru hasn't seen much use since it closed in 2010. But a developer would like to purchase the property and use it as part of a senior housing development project.
The former Amcore Bank property in downtown Peru hasn't seen much use since it closed in 2010. But a developer would like to purchase the property and use it as part of a senior housing development project.

The senior housing market just got a little more competitive in Peru.

At Monday’s committee of a whole meeting, the Peru council heard of a senior housing opportunity in the downtown area from GC Housing Development LLC. The group would like to buy and revitalize the former Amcore Bank property on Fourth Street.

But the development could hinge on an application process with the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

Two weeks ago, the Peru council heard another housing project pitch from 3 Diamond Development for a senior community in the area of Wenzel Road and Progress Boulevard.

Both projects depend on receiving tax credits from the IHDA. The developers then take those tax credits and sell them to a national bank for about 93 cents on the dollar, which gives them the funds they need to start the development.

But Jeff Crane, president of Crane Construction Company and a partner in GC Housing Development of Northbrook, said the IHDA can be particular about where these tax credits are distributed. He said they typically do not overload one community with senior housing unless they know there is a demand for it. So if both GC Housing Development and 3 Diamond Development applied for tax credits in the same period — which appears to be the plan — only one company may end up getting approved. Or both could.

GC Housing pitch

Crane said his company would look to purchase both the former Amcore Bank property at 1810 Fourth Street and the former Illinois Valley Community Hospital medical office at 710 Peoria Street located behind it.

They would refurbish both buildings into a 50 unit complex, according to the current conceptual plan. Crane said the building caught his team of developers’ eyes during a “windshield tour” of town a few months ago. He said they would maintain the buildings façade on Fourth Street and use that front as the community/common area.

The housing development would be limited to those 55 and older for at least a 30 year period and would be low-income Section 42 housing.

Crane sited new developments in Glendale Heights, Yorkville, St. Charles and downtown Ottawa as places where they are constructing high-end living at an affordable price. Crane added that the refurbished property could at $60,000 to $70,000 in property taxes per year for what might be a $13-$15 million project.

3 Diamond pitch

Two weeks ago, David Porush of 3 Diamond Development said they were looking at property on the northeast corner of Wenzel Road and Progress Boulevard for a 60-unit housing project at a cost of about $8-12 million. It too would be limited to those 55 and older and would be considered low-income housing for seniors.

Porush estimated the development adding $80,000 in property taxes. It would also be maintained as senior housing only for at least 30 years. Porush said his Lincolnwood company also had a development in Princeton as a close reference for what they were looking to build.

Peru’s role

Essentially the only thing both projects need from the city is zoning variances to construct the new senior housing. The 3 Diamond project is currently outside of city limits and would also have to be annexed into the city.

Mayor Scott Harl said it may be in the city’s best interest to stay impartial since both projects provide opportunities for future development. He said the GC Housing pitch would help revitalize downtown while the 3 Diamond pitch would continue growth on the north end.

“You wouldn’t want to not see that at either site,” he said.

Aldermen agreed there isn’t a downside to either project and there is a need for more housing in the community. But if only one can be selected, the city is not currently picking a favorite.

The application process for the housing credits begins in December and IHDA is expected to have the projects approved by June 2020.

Brett Herrmann can be reached at (815) 220-6933 or Follow him on Twitter @NT_Herrmann.

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