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Developers drop senior housing finance plan

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Kevin Hoffman
October 19, 2011
— Developers for a $24 million senior housing center in Walworth County are abandoning their federal financing plans, though the project is expected to move forward with other funding sources.

Mike Zukerman, a New York-based developer, said planners dropped pursuit of section 108 financing to help build a 144-unit senior housing center at Geneva Ridge. The project is still in its planning phase, and Zukerman said he expects more details in the coming weeks.


Developers initially said they would seek federal funding but withdrew that idea after learning how long the process took. Zukerman said the project couldn't wait that length of time.


Section 108 funding is awarded for "economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities rehab, construction or installation for the benefit of low- to moderate-income persons, or to aid in the prevention of slums," according to the Housing and Urban Development website.


The program allows developers up to 20 years to repay the loan.


Zukerman said a market study showed residents supported this type of development. He's also involved with a similar project planned in Milwaukee, he said.


"Actually we were involved with a person who owns Geneva Ridge, and he needed to do more development," said Zukerman. "So he asked if we could come up with something."


The senior housing center includes independent and assisted living units, he said. Zukerman couldn't recall the exact number of units for each type, and another market study is expected in the next couple of weeks that could modify current plans.


Bruce Block, attorney for the developers, previously said during a Walworth County Finance Committee meeting the project's cost is expected to be somewhere around $24 million. Zukerman said developers are now considering bond financing to help pay for costs.


The project still has several hurdles before it receives final approval. Williams Bay and the town of Geneva must approve zoning, and the developers are expected to hold a public hearing to allow residents to offer input.


Block anticipated zoning applications would be filed to the respective communities in August or September, according to a letter submitted to the county board. They then must set a hearing for those requests, which has not yet been done.


Mary Van Lue, planning commission secretary for the town of Geneva, said project leaders pitched the idea to town officials earlier this year but did not have a developed plan. They were asked to come back but have not yet done so or submitted a zoning application.



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