Development

U.S. Bank will provide $7 million in financing to renovate Friendship Village Apartments

Updated: 2013-04-24T03:59:06Z

By KEVIN COLLISON

The Kansas City Star

Friendship Village apartments is undergoing an extensive renovation intended to improve living conditions in and around the 145-unit affordable housing development that opened in 1971.

U.S. Bank is providing more than $7 million in financing to help with a plan by Yarco Cos. to renovate the development at Swope Parkway and 56th Terrace and demolish some nearby properties that had become a crime area, according to officials.

“Thanks to U.S. Bank, we have the financial resources to go well beyond a typical exterior and interior renovation,” said Jonathan Cohn, president of Yarco and a principal in the new ownership.

“In addition to Friendship Village, we were able to purchase several adjoining single-family properties. Some were blighted and had been the source of past neighborhood criminal activity.”

The apartment complex where 360 people live, including 220 under the age of 18, was last renovated in 1995. The work is scheduled to be completed early next year.

The U.S. Bank commitment includes more than $5.2 million in federal and state low-income housing tax credit equity made through its U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. and a $1.8 million donation from the State Affordable Housing Assistance Program.

“We’re proud to partner with Yarco to upgrade and maintain the property so that it can continue to meet residents’ needs for the next 20 years and beyond,” said Lynn Craghead, senior vice president at U.S. Bancorp Community Development.

Cohn said the land cleared by demolishing nearby houses will be used for playgrounds and community gardening. A new outdoor classroom for programs offered by Phoenix Family, a Kansas City nonprofit that helps residents of affordable housing developments, also will be provided.

Phoenix Family offers services for short-term assistance and immediate emergencies as well as long-term personal development programs to help individuals, the family and the community, according to Kimber Myers Givner, executive director of the agency.

To reach Kevin Collison, call 816-234-4289 or send email to kcollison@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at kckansascity.

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