PERU — A new $20 million housing development is coming to Peru that will offer four different kinds of rental units along the Wabash River and mark the city’s first major housing project in decades.
Wabash River Equites LCC has started preliminary site work on around 26 acres located along West Canal Street between the new, soon-to-open Miami County YMCA and Riverview Funeral Home and Event Center.
Burke Richeson, the attorney representing the company, said the development in total will offer 174 units. That includes traditional apartments, patio apartments, duplexes and a roughly 50,000-square-foot senior housing development.
Some of the units will also include garages or indoor parking space available to rent to tenants. The property will include a small clubhouse for events or get-togethers.
Richeson said the duplexes will be located along the Riverwalk Trail that runs by the Wabash and are considered the most prime property at the site. He estimated those units would cost between $1,200 to $1,500 a month.
The senior units will be located just west of the Riverview Event Center and will be built on a single level to accommodate older people, he said. Those units would cost between $700 to $800 a month.
The traditional apartments will be located inside three-story buildings in the middle of the development, while the patio apartments would be located just east and south of the new YMCA.
During a Peru City Council meeting on Monday, some residents expressed concerns that the new housing units were too expensive for people in the city to afford.
Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, said the goal is that the housing development will attract people from outside the city and county to move to Peru.
“The intent here is not just to accommodate current residents within the city or county,” he said during the meeting. “We’re trying to increase our population and bring more people into the community rather than just shuffling people around through our current housing.”
Richeson said the units will be priced to sell. He noted the owners of the development company have around 2,000 units across the state, and the occupancy rate for all those sits at between 95% and 98%. That means the company is setting its prices so people can afford them, Richeson said.
Tidd said the developer for the project was selected by a committee after sending out a request for proposal (RFP) for a new housing development at the site. He said the city and county have been working with the developer for about a year now to launch the project.
The housing units are part of what the city has dubbed the River View Landing community improvement project, located on 40 acres of former railroad property. The city purchased the land from railroad company CSX in 2017 for $250,000.
That property now includes the new YMCA, new walking trails and the new housing development.
Richeson said the company hopes to break ground on construction this spring and have the project completed in 18 to 24 months. Right now, crews are working to remove concrete and do soil remediation because the ground there has soil compaction issues.
The Peru City Council on Monday voted unanimously to approve a 20-year tax abatement for the project. In that time, the company will receive a 70% reimbursement on all the real property taxes it pays every year.
The project could also receive money from the $30 million in READI funding the region received last year from the state. In its proposal, the city requested $2.75 million in grant funding to help pay for significant road upgrades on Second Street, Forest Street and adjacent roadways.
According to the grant, the re-envisioned riverfront development will attract young talent to the area through improved quality-of-life amenities and housing that will allow entry level, working class residents to live and work in Peru.
Which of the 27 projects in the READI grant proposal will receive funding will be determined by March.