A Logansport commission is planning to support a housing project in a downtown building with $160,000 and a five-year tax abatement.
Bill Cuppy, executive director of the Cass Logansport Economic Development Organization and Logansport-Cass County Chamber of Commerce, discussed the project at a Logansport Redevelopment Commission meeting on Wednesday.
The project involves the Logan Square Building at Third Street and East Broadway. The vacant five-story building consists of about 45,000 square feet and has a parking lot with about 75 spaces.
Cuppy's presentation indicated Lafayette-based FRG Management is pursuing the project. The company bought the building in June and is willing to invest $3.2 million, Cuppy said.
FRG Management wants to make the building's first floor mixed-use commercial, Cuppy continued, adding the firm is in talks to provide office space to a financial adviser and an attorney. Cuppy added the first floor would also offer a convenience store.
Floors two through five would be renovated into about 40 market-rate apartments for "young professionals, empty-nesters, anyone who wants to live and work downtown," Cuppy said.
"You can make $200,000 and live there, you can make 14,000; you can be 95, you can be 22," Cuppy said. "It's based upon what the market can bear."
The project differs from past proposals to bring apartments to the building, which have been contingent on the awarding of tax credits and had age and income restrictions for tenants.
Cuppy relayed FRG Management's request to the redevelopment commission on Wednesday of a $160,000 incentive — 5 percent of the project — to fund exterior upgrades like new windows, tuckpointing, repainting, new awnings, roof repair and improving the parking lot. Cuppy recommended the amount be placed in escrow and paid out in draws as construction projects are completed.
FRG Management is also seeking a five-year tax abatement, which Cuppy said Logansport City Council would also have to approve.
The $160,000 and abatement would result in a total incentive of $268,000, Cuppy said.
Cuppy also recommended the commission require FRG Management to provide proof of project financing.
The commission voted unanimously in favor of a motion approving the requests with the intention of voting on a resolution outlining the decision in the future.
Scott Kraud, president of the commission, said the incentive is financially feasible, adding there's currently about $380,000 in the downtown tax increment financing fund the commission is responsible for.
Cuppy said the downtown TIF fund would see a return on the investment in about seven years.
That payback is part of the reason commission member Mike McCord said he supports the project after Wednesday's meeting. Improving residential downtown will improve commercial downtown, he continued, adding he admires the market-rate aspect of the proposal.
"It gives us a different type of housing than we're used to having available," McCord said.
Cuppy said FRG Management is also seeking an incentive from city council as well. He said he hopes to raise a total of 10 percent of the project's costs up front from cash infusions from the commission and council.
FRG Management wants to start "very soon" on what would be a 10-12-month project, Cuppy said.
An FRG Management representative with knowledge of the project could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
The firm's website indicates it owns and manages single- and multi-family residences, apartment buildings and commercial properties.