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Work begins on Hempfield senior complex

| Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, 11:27 p.m.

After years of planning by the Westmoreland County Housing Authority, construction of a 45-unit apartment complex for senior citizens will begin on Monday.

Officials last month finalized funding for the $11.5 million project, the authority's first new construction project in more than two decades.

The development is the first of a proposed, three-phase upgrade of the authority's 55-acre headquarters campus off South Greengate Road in Hempfield.

“This is our first significant project for the authority in quite some time. We're proud to develop a piece of this vacant ground, and now we will be able to serve more seniors,” authority Executive Director Michael Washowich said.

This year, the authority secured more than $10 million in federal tax credits purchased by private investors as the primary source of the project's funding. State grants totaling $1.1 million will be used for the project.

Construction of the three-story building, which will house one-bedroom units, is expected to take about a year. Washowich said residents are expected to move into the building by the end of 2013.

The building will be operated by a nonprofit subsidiary of the authority and will not be part of its public housing operations.

The senior housing building is the first in the South Greengate Commons development.

Housing authority officials said the second phase will include construction of a headquarters office building, as well as retail development elsewhere on the property.

The authority's current administrative building is outdated, Washowich said.

Funding hasn't been secured for the second and third phases of the development project.

The final stage will include construction of more low-income and senior housing facilities.

The authority opted to redevelop its land after it unsuccessfully attempted to sell the property to private and commercial interests.

In other news, the authority board last week approved a public housing budget.

The $10.7 million budget to operate the authority's 1,934 public housing units is funded through state and federal grants.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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