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BLOOMINGTON — A developer plans to proceed next year with a revamped proposal to build affordable apartments on city-owned property where the Coachman Motel once stood near downtown.

"We're not abandoning the project; we're not walking away," said Tim Ryan with Laborers' Home Development Corp., developers for the project. "We have every intention to work with the city to bring this project to fruition.

"We kind of had to redesign it a little bit so the financing would work for it," he added. 

"I believe what the latest (plan) we're working on is 40 units, but we're also researching other financing options that may allow us to increase that unit count back to where it was when we first introduced this project to the city," said Ryan.

Laborers' Home plans this year to explore all financing options available through the the state and grants, he added. 

Laborers' Home had applied for a grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago but was unable to meet the guidelines, said Ryan.

However, Laborers' Home has received preliminary approval from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which essentially allows the developer to apply for full financing through the agency, said Ryan.

"Our preliminary approval still stands, and that is good for the application that will be due in March of 2019," he said.

Mayor Tari Renner told The Pantagraph on Wednesday that the housing deal had fallen through, but that the project, to be called the David Penn Apartments, might come back next year in a different form.

The Springfield-based not-for-profit development company, an affiliate of the Laborers' International Union of North America, has built about 1,000 housing units in the state, including senior and supportive living facilities.

Laborers' Home still is looking at the Coachman site.

The site has been included in the proposed Downtown East Washington Street Redevelopment Tax Increment Finance District, which is still awaits council approval.

Laborers' Home did not request TIF incentives for the apartment complex development.

The city adopted a TIF redevelopment agreement in June 2017 with Iceberg Development Group LLC of LeClaire, Iowa, which has a redevelopment project pending within the proposed TIF redevelopment area.  

Iceberg plans to convert the second and third floors of the former Bloomington High School, 510 E. Washington St., into 58 apartments for people 55 and older and lease spaces to commercial and nonprofit users on the first floor.

Creation of the TIF district was placed on hold until the council could address whether it should adopt guidelines for how to use tax increment financing.

The council replaced its work session scheduled for Monday with a voting session so it can meet in a special voting session to possibly adopt a resolution spelling out those guidelines.

In a TIF district, the increase in property tax revenue generated by improvements in the district is diverted from the taxing bodies into a fund earmarked for economic development within the district.

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Contact Maria Nagle at (309) 820-3244. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle

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Bloomington Reporter

Bloomington reporter for The Pantagraph.

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