Como neighborhood low-income housing project due in September

It’s still on schedule.

A low-income family housing unit at the site of the former Bunge Tower, near 13th Avenue Southeast and Como Avenue in Southeast Como, is on schedule to finish in early September, Project for Pride in Living development manager Chris Wilson said.

 The development also includes for-sale townhomes and condos, which will hopefully attract University faculty and staff, Wilson said. The condos could provide reasonably priced housing for recent graduates, he added.

Wilson said the neighborhood’s response has been good thus far.

“The neighborhood seems perfectly satisfied with what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t think there’ll be any issues.”

Another unique part of the development, Wilson said, will be the supportive housing component. He said PPL is also working with the Cabrini Partnership to provide some transitional housing at the site for individuals coming out of chemical dependency treatment.

PPL partners with governments and other organizations to build residences that will revitalize metro-area neighborhoods.

To qualify for the low-income rental apartments, a family has to earn less than half of the area’s median income. Wilson said the median area income is $78,500, so the households must make less than $39,250 to qualify. He also said the amount is adjusted according to family size.

James De Sota, neighborhood coordinator for the Southeast Como Improvement Association, said the development is an excellent opportunity to bring in families and to stabilize the area.

“It will provide more opportunities for interaction,” he said.

De Sota said marketing poses the largest threat to the development’s success – a reflection on the current condition of the housing market in the state and nation. He said, however, that the PPL’s directors have done a lot of interacting with the community and accepting critiques, and have taken the neighborhood’s voice into account when planning.

Hannah Nilles, a kinesiology junior who lives in nearby Van Cleve Court is concerned with the effect it will have on attracting students to live there in the future.

“I feel like right now the majority is students, and I feel like that sort of housing will bring in a different type of population,” she said. “I don’t think it’ll cause any problems, I just think the area will be less attractive for students to live there.”

Allison Hugill, an elementary education junior and Southeast Como resident, disagrees.

“I think it would have a positive effect on the area by sustaining and creating more diversity,” she said. She said, however, a drawback for the families could be the student parties in the area.

But she said there are resources in the neighborhood, like pools and parks, that students aren’t using.

“If college students aren’t utilizing it, I don’t see why it’s a huge deal if kids are,” she said.