CHAMPAIGN — A development official working on a new housing community at the former site of Joann Dorsey Homes says he hopes construction there can begin as soon as July or August of this year.
But that timetable is dependent on the Housing Authority of Champaign County and The Benoit Group getting tax credits and financing for the project, said Torian Priestly, vice president of development and advisory services for The Benoit Group.
That Atlanta-based development group has proposed building 252 residential units at two sites — 90 at the Joann Dorsey site at Bradley and McKinley avenues in Champaign and the other 162 at a second site not yet disclosed.
The new development at the Joann Dorsey site would be called Providence at Sycamore Hills, while the development at the other site would also use the Providence name, he added.
Priestly said there is a preferred site for the project, but arrangements for it haven't been finalized. Last year, the housing authority considered acquiring vacant land at 2501 N. Neil St., but the deal was not completed, he said.
Edward Bland, executive director for the Housing Authority of Champaign County, said he anticipates site arrangements for the second Providence project to come together in the next 90 days.
He would not identify the preferred site, but said there's a need for affordable housing throughout Champaign County, not just in Champaign-Urbana.
The residential units at the two Providence developments would be similar to those at Hamilton on the Park, a new housing development on the former Dunbar Court site in north Urbana, Priestly said.
Building permits were recently issued for that 36-unit development, located on the southeast side of Douglass Park. Hamilton on the Park, designed in a townhouse style, will have a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
Priestly said Hamilton on the Park will be close to a school and library as well as the park.
Although the development will offer affordable housing units, "it looks nothing like affordable housing," he said. "It has a market-rate feel."
Bland said Hamilton on the Park is designed to attract people of different income levels.
"They look like units that are non-subsidized," he said.
Priestly said Hamilton on the Park will have a community building and six residential buildings, each of which will be turned over for leasing as soon as it's finished.
He said some residential buildings could become available as soon as May, with the whole development expected to be completed by September.