A proposal to re-use the vacant Blenheim Elementary School for low-income senior apartments earned a crucial approval Friday.
The Missouri Housing Development Commission awarded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to the developer who proposes a $10.5 million conversion of the vacant building at 2411 E. 70th Terrace.
“Without the use of housing and historic tax credits, this project would not happen,” said Jason Swords, principal at Sunflower Development Group.
Sunflower Development’s tax credit request had been passed over in two previous application rounds, but Swords, neighborhood groups and the Kansas City School District continued to support the repurposing plan for Blenheim, which was closed in 2009.
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Swords has a signed contract to redevelop the 67,760-square-foot building into 52 apartments. He said Friday that he hopes to close on the property in the second quarter of 2017.
“Plans aren’t 100 percent drawn yet, but we’re looking to start redevelopment mid-2017,” Swords said.
The three-story brick building which dates to 1925 is one of dozens of Kansas City school buildings involved in an ongoing repurposing program by the district.
The school district also has a memorandum of understanding with the city of Kansas City to partner on Blenheim’s redevelopment using a Community Development Block Grant.
Sunflower Development already has converted another former school to senior apartments. The old Faxon Elementary at 3710 the Paseo was turned into 46 studio, one- and two-bedroom units that opened in early 2016 after that building had been closed for at least 15 years.