A $7.5 million investment in Planeview doesn’t come around very often.
Rob Snyder, owner of a lot of housing in the neighborhood, said he is using federal tax credits to renovate the 72-unit Peaceful Village Apartment complex on East Ross Parkway.
The project will take the six apartment buildings, dating back to 1968, down to their concrete walls. They will get new plumbing, heating/air conditioning and ventilation systems, electrical, fixtures and appliances, windows, roofs and, for the first time, insulation in the walls and a clubhouse.
Vintage Construction is the general contractor.
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When completed, the 905-square foot, three-bedroom units will rent for $565 to $585 a month. The tenants must earn below 60 percent of the median income for the Wichita metro area.
Snyder said almost everyone now living in Planeview would qualify.
Two of the units will rent at no cost to the homeless.
That’s a big deal for the neighborhood — built as temporary housing for WWII aircraft workers and never torn down — said James Clendenin, who represents the area on the Wichita City Council.
“The last time Planeview had this much investment is probably when it was built,” Clendenin said.
In accord with the IRS’ Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, Snyder sold all but a tiny sliver of the complex to Peaceful Village LC, a vehicle for the investors. The investors make money by buying the tax credits at a discount over 15 years. Snyder makes money by getting a development fee, the amount to be determined at the end of the project.
Snyder will manage the project and must stay in compliance with federal rules and regulations for 16 years or face the fury of investors who stand to lose the tax credits.
The big beneficiaries, Snyder said, are the tenants and the community. The rent, he said, is set to basically cover only the debt service.
The project couldn’t be done for what they can charge in rent in Planeview, Snyder said. Without some kind of subsidy, the buildings would grow increasingly run down and then be boarded up.
Snyder bought Peaceful Village about 20 years ago. At the time, it had been boarded up for about a decade. He said he spent about $1 million to make it rentable.
Now, he said, it’s time to really renovate the nearly 50-year-old apartments.
Snyder is a sometimes controversial figure in Wichita housing circles because of his ownership of hundreds of low-end houses, duplexes and triplexes. A few years ago, Snyder said, he owned 300 units, including 11 percent of the Planeview and Hilltop neighborhoods.
He said he has since sold off about 70 duplexes in Planeview to their occupants. That is critical, he said, to reviving the neighborhood.
“They only way you’re going to get any improvement in Planeview is from owner-occupants,” he said.
He also built 27 new homes in Planeview through a program that allowed the houses to be built at a substantial discount. All are owned by their occupants.
Clendenin, the City Council member, said he loves Snyder’s investment with the new housing project and with Peaceful Village. He said Snyder is one of the few people investing in Planeview.
“The things I’ve seen him do in Planeview have been very positive,” Clendenin said. “The renovation of these apartments are incredibly important to the neighborhood.”