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The affordable housing projects in Ellensburg are going in different directions for the time being, but plans to move forward remain a top priority.

Construction at HopeSource’s Spurling Court project, which consists of 29 units on the east side of Rainier Avenue and another 20 on the west side, is in full swing and has not been effected by the pandemic.

The city of Ellensburg’s affordable housing project at the Bender and Water hit a snag last week when Crytyl Enterprises Inc. pulled out of the project. The city is currently waiting for another applicant to utilize its affordable housing funding.

PROGRESS

“We’re very pleased with the progress. It’s going quite well. We broke ground and started construction as if nothing ever happened with the pandemic,” HopeSource director of affordable housing Craig Kelly said in reference to the Spurling Court project. “We had some supply chain problems in the beginning, but we’ve pretty much addressed those issues.

“We started building and there has not been any COVID-19-related delays. None.”

Ellensburg City Council approved the Affordable Housing Commission’s recommendations, giving Crytyl Enterprises Inc. the go ahead to begin the process of building 18 three- and four-bedroom homes on the city-owned property at Water and Bender streets.

But the pandemic delayed the process and Crytyl Enterprises Inc. opted out the first week of October.

“(Crytyl Enterprises Inc. owner) Tyler (Glahn) has withdrawn from the Bender and Water project. But we do have a process in place where any other developer can apply for affordable housing funding,” Mayor Bruce Tabb said. “We’re looking for some creative ideas from developers, maybe housing projects or apartment housing development. But as of right now we don’t have any applicants.”

SPURLING COURT PROJECT

HopeSource broke ground for its grassroots project called Spurling Court affordable housing project at the end of January prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. HopeSource expects to have total occupancy by the spring of 2021, targeting households with incomes at or below the average median income, Kelly said

“We’re expecting to be completed with the construction phase by spring of next year,” said Kelly, who used $500,000 awarded by the Kittitas County Commissioners as the cornerstone for funding. “It’s a grassroots effort and it’s finally happening and were very excited about the project.”

The general contractor is James Rochlin of SRI-Rochlin Construction Services, subcontractors have been sourced from Central Washington for much of the work, said Kelly, who will be overseeing the overall development and construction of the project. The developer partner is Shelter Resources Inc.

HopeSource purchased the property for $375,000 and the project is funded by several local, state and federal programs. HopeSource applied for Low Income Housing Tax Credits which are awarded through the Housing Finance Commission. It also received a $975,000 Federal Home Loan, which is deferred for 40 years.

The city of Ellensburg waved impact fees to help reduce overall costs and Kittitas County allocated $500,000. For the Spurling Court project, $95,000 will come out of the county’s affordable housing funds and $405,000 will come from the homelessness fund.

BENDER AND WATER PROJECT

The city council approved funding from the city’s affordable housing sales tax fund in the amount of $765,000 and contribution of the city-owned Bender-Water property. The project called for the construction of 18 three- and four-bedroom homes on the city-owned property at Water and Bender streets.

That changed, Tabb said, but does not mean the city is back to square one on the process.

“We anticipate there will be applications and we think that it will happen sooner rather later,” Tabb said. “We have an application to any construction firm. We’re looking for creativity to create and sustain more affordable housing. It’s not tied to city property.

“An example could be, if somebody were purchasing a building for multi-family units, the city’s affordable housing money could be used to help get that built. They could make an application to receive money for a new project. It could also be something as simple as converting apartments and city money could be used for the cost of the upgrade.

“We could provide some money to the owners if they could agree that the apartments would remain affordable. Applicants could apply for the money to use in different ways.”

The affordable housing process started with Ellensburg voters approving a .1 percent sales tax increase in November of 2017. Collection started in April of 2018. The city formed an Affordable Housing Committee to see how that money could assist in creating affordable housing.

COMMUNITY GARDEN PROPERTY

The city-owned Community Garden property still remains an option along with others for the next project.

“Applicants could also come in on a multi-family project at the community garden property,” Tabb said. “I think you could probably get 40 to 50 units on that tract, as long as it is multi-family apartments.”

HOPESOURCE SOUTH PEARL PROJECT

The city approved $400,000 to fund the HopeSource project on South Pearl Street.

The actual funds for the project are conditioned in the award letter based on HopeSource receiving commitment from Kittitas County as indicated in its project budget. Both proposals have project timelines that foresee completion of construction within a year or year and a half from the start of construction.

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