Jacob Price Homes in Northern Kentucky (NKY) was built in 1939 as 23 concrete ‘bunker-style’ buildings containing 163 units. With a severed street grid isolating the housing area from the neighboring community, the concentrated public housing facility in the middle of Covington, Kentucky’s Eastside neighborhood had become an island of blight in a neighborhood otherwise known for its historic row houses.
By the early 2000s, The Housing Authority of Covington (HAC) was searching for solutions to the functionally obsolete ‘projects’ that had become riddled with high crime rates. In the immediate surrounding neighborhood, many historic structures sat vacant due to lack of investment. Jacob Price’s problems were weighing down the community.
The Development Solution
- The Model Group responded to an HAC RFP with the a comprehensive solution: if Model and HAC could demolish Jacob Price in phases while scattered-site replacement housing was redeveloped in adjacent vacant historic properties, the community would experience ‘double bang for its buck’ — eliminated blight on the Jacob Price site - plus eliminated blight at the rehabbed sites transformed into first class housing - while at the same time, preparing the Jacob Price site for future redevelopment.
- A funding source program, such as HOPE VI, would be needed to fully provide the resources needed for such a project, but a HOPE VI award was deemed unlikely for the project. Instead, the Model Group proposed application for a phased Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) redevelopment, which would require a long-term commitment of partnership from the state financing agency (KHC), the city, HAC, the state historic council, residents, multiple equity investors and lenders, and the community.
- Model competed for, and was awarded four separate LIHTC awards, which were leveraged to create over $20 million in total investment in the Eastside. This exciting development, now referred to as Eastside Revitalization, includes 114 units and 45 rehabbed historic buildings. The initiative created 403 jobs in the process.
- Partners: City of Covington, Housing Authority of Covington, Kentucky Housing Corporation, Kentucky Heritage Council, OASIS (Eastside neighborhood residents), PNC Bank, National Development Council, and US Bank.
- Coordination with Senior Services of NKY and Disabilities Coalition of NKY.
The Construction Solution
- Eastside Revitalization was a challenging undertaking due to the scattered-site, small-building nature of the project. Professional project management with simultaneous, multi-site project coordination was critical.
- At the outset of the project, it was determined that many of the buildings had been vacant for such a long time that water and fire damage was determined to be a major factor.
- Many of the buildings were ill-equipped for modern family housing initially, so design-build reconfiguration and adaptation was necessary from the project's beginning to completion.
- All 45 buildings’ interiors and exteriors were preserved to historic standards approved by the Kentucky Heritage Council and the National Park Service and received Historic Part III Approvals.
The spiraling pattern of neglect and hopelessness in the community continues to be replaced by a spirit of pride and hope. As crime drops, additional redevelopment is planned for other adjacent areas in this Northern Kentucky community.