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Friday, July 11, 2014

City OKs bond issue for restoration of south Wichita apartments

By Bill Wilson
The Wichita Eagle

City Council members on Tuesday approved a $5 million industrial revenue bond issue to begin the restoration of a historic south Wichita apartment development.

The bond issue to the Residences at Linwood will jump-start what council member James Clendenin called the restoration of a “ghost town.” It will allow restoration work to begin on the first 46 buildings and 184 units of the 90 four-apartment buildings in the 22-acre complex at 2002 S. Hydraulic. The IRBs will be placed with Murfin Inc., one of the developers behind the Residences at Linwood.

“I’d like to thank the partners for infusing their own cash into this development that is a ghost town in south Wichita and can be seen as a ghost town from the highway,” Clendenin said. “I want to thank them publicly for what they’re doing.”

The Linwood group purchased the facility in December 2011. The first phase of work includes the installation of new hardwood floors and carpet, new countertops, new vanities, new bathroom mirrors and fixtures, new cabinets and hardware, new interior walls, upgraded plumbing and electrical systems, new washers and dryers, new roofing, new landscaping, new fencing and signage, brick repair, new windows, and new heating and air conditioning.

The new owners have already qualified for 9 percent low-income housing tax credits and have applied for historic tax credits.

Allen Bell, the city’s urban development director, said the group intends to seek IRBs from the city for a second phase, for the remaining 44 buildings at an estimated cost of about $6 million.

Linwood was built by the Garvey family in the 1940s and 1950s to house aircraft workers and soldiers returning from World War II.

City officials said the property has changed hands several times since 1999 and has fallen into serious disrepair, with more than 60 of the 90 buildings currently vacant and boarded up.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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