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Jackson Street apartment project to receive nearly $700K in tax credits

A project to renovate the former Sioux City Central High School annex into an apartment complex received a boost Thursday in the form of nearly $700,000 in federal housing tax credits.

The Iowa Finance Authority Board announced its award of $688,936 in tax credits Thursday to the Woodbine, Iowa-based Arch Icon Development Corp. for its Aberdeen Apartments project on Jackson Street. The award was part of more than $7.3 million the state presented to 11 housing projects in eight Iowa counties.

Arch Icon Development plans to turn the 1952 structure at 1121 Jackson St. into 46 apartments ranging from one to four bedrooms. Rent is projected to range from $375 to $800 per month.

Arch Icon Developers co-principal Darin Smith said the company, which specializes in historic renovation, has been working on the project for two years. It will be an $11 million investment.

"There's a huge demand for affordable housing in Sioux City," Smith said. "We would like to do more in Sioux City."

The comprehensive renovation will preserve some of the main walls and gymnasium floor area, which will be partially used for housing and partially for a community space.

Renovations will add an elevator and parking lot to the lower level of the annex building. Aberdeen Apartments is looking to have Omaha-based Seldin Company manage the apartments. The company also manages Castle on the Hill, the renovated Central High School building across the street.

Arch Icon Developers is looking toward a fall start date and completion in spring 2018.

Jeff Hanson, Sioux City's community development operations manager, said the project meets a housing need identified by the city.

"We still believe there’s a shortage of affordable apartment units, especially on the north side of downtown," Hanson said. "The need definitely exists."

Hanson said the property will need to undergo rezoning. He said the city has committed up to $500,000 through the Home Investment Partnership Program, a 1 percent interest loan with yearly payments funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for gap financing.

The developers are also applying for state and federal historic tax credits.

Central High, which resembles a Medieval fortress, opened in 1893 and closed in 1972 when other high schools were under construction. The landmark building at 610 13th St. later reopened as the Castle on the Hill Apartments in 2003.

The annex was constructed directly south of Central High School and was used for industrial arts, athletic and music activities.

The high school was nominated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In September 2016, that listing was expanded to include the annex.

Another Siouxland project that received significant funding Thursday is the planned renovation of an apartment complex for senior citizens in Spencer, Iowa. Community Housing Initiatives Inc. received an announced $820,000 in tax credits for the rehabilitation of Sunset Apartments, 118 E. 21st St.

Matt Hauge, communications director for Community Housing Initiatives Inc., said the nonprofit is still gathering financing to purchase the existing property. The renovations will retain 91 affordable units for seniors 62-plus.

The Spencer-based nonprofit, formed in 1994, serves 30 cities in Iowa and most recently opened a Spencer property called Southern Pointe, which offers three- and four-bedroom apartments for families.