November 20, 2014

Medina
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Affordable housing sought for older adults

A rendering of how the front entrance to Southwick Manor Apartments will look when it’s completed in early 2015. The apartment complex will be operated by Medina Metropolitan Housing and provide affordable rent for those over 55 years of age who meet income guidelines. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

BRUNSWICK — A proposed apartment complex at the corner of Southwick Boulevard and Pearl Road promises affordable housing for fixed-income adults older than 55.

Skip Sipos, the executive director of Medina Metropolitan Housing, said he expects the 54 units at Southwick Manor to fill up fast.

“We only have one affordable senior housing building in Brunswick and it’s always full with a waiting list,” Sipos said.

Sipos expects to start work on the project this year, with a completion date set for early 2015.

The idea of constructing an affordable-living apartment for older citizens in Brunswick has been in the works for about seven years.

Sipos and local and state elected officials have been working to get state tax credits to make the project a reality. Through a state tax credit program, investors will get the opportunity to supply the financing for the project while enjoying tax credits for their investment, and the nonprofit metropolitan housing authority will be available to offer more affordable units.

“It’s a great deal for the investors but also a gain for the community,” Sipos said.

Sipos and other leaders have been pushing to get state tax credits for the project since 2007. Earlier this month, the state announced tax credits for 34 Ohio projects, most in the state’s major cities. Sipos said the grant is very competitive but community support for the project, including a property already owned by an affiliate of Metropolitan Housing, helped move the project forward.

“You can get a total of 30 points for community support on the application, and we got all 30,” Sipos said.

Sipos said the apartments’ designs were based on focus groups with Brunswick-area seniors on what they would like to see in their apartments.

The new units will include one- and two-bedroom apartments with basic kitchen appliances. All the apartments will feature washer and dryer hook-ups.

“That was something that they said they wanted, so we included it in the design,” Sipos said.

All the units will have balconies. The one-bedroom units are more than 750 square feet while the two-bedroom units are around 900 square feet.

Sipos said city zoning requirements for senior housing included regulations about the size of the units and about the facade, resulting in builders including brick and adding a clock tower to tie-in with the one featured prominently on the Brunswick logo.

The construction will be completed by the Miller Valentine Group, which bills itself as a contractor for both luxury and affordable living apartments.

“They really took into account what Brunswick and the surrounding area looked like,” Sipos said.

Sipos said the community rooms and exercise rooms are included on the first floor of the building in the hopes of fostering a sense of community.

All of the apartments can be converted into wheelchair accessible units as well.

“We want to keep our residents there once they move in,” Sipos said. “We hope our services bring folks in and make them want to stay.”

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or at lgenson@medina-gazette.com.