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82 apply for housing in Gateway Crossing

August 12, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

In fewer than 10 days, 72 prospective tenants have applied for the 83 rental units to be available in the first phase of the Gateway Crossing project, Hagerstown Housing Authority Executive Director Ted Shankle said Monday.

During the same period, 10 people have applied for the 11 homes going up for sale as part of the first phase, he said.

The applications of the prospective tenants have not yet been processed for housing in the $73.5 million project, he said.

Earlier this year, contractors finished demolition of the 50-year-old Westview Homes public housing project and started construction on Gateway Crossing, the replacement community that Housing Authority officials say they hope will reinvigorate that part of the city's West End.

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The 600 people who lived in the 210-unit Westview Homes had to move elsewhere during construction of the 400-unit Gateway Crossing project.

Of the 72 applications for the rentals that will be available in the first of four phases of construction, 51 are former West End residents, Shankle said.

Normally during public housing project replacements of this type, about 10 percent to 15 percent of former residents return, he said.

Shankle said he was not surprised at how many people have applied for the homes because they are of a high quality.

Construction of the first phase is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 19. Tenants can start moving into completed homes on Sept. 10, Shankle said.

Former residents will be given priority over other applicants provided they meet new criteria. If they are not elderly or disabled, they must have been working for at least one year and have had no problems with their lease, Shankle said.

In the new class-integrated neighborhood, rented and owned property will be intermingled, a step Housing Authority officials have said they hope will reinvigorate the West End community and improve the city.

Most of the homes are two stories and a few will have garages, Housing Authority grants coordinator Ron Nair has said. The rental units will contain about 1,337 square feet while the homes to be sold will have 1,500 square feet, he said.

The cost to develop a new home for sale exceeds $150,000 but the Housing Authority will sell the new homes for between $69,000 and $79,000, Shankle said.

Buyers of Gateway Crossing homes will be required to live in the home for at least five years or, if they move earlier, to give any profit from the home sale to the Housing Authority, Shankle said.

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