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Martindale gets $2.5 million loan

Fri., Jan. 1, 2010, midnight

Hillyard project includes units for homeless vets

More low-income housing has been earmarked for Spokane.

Washington state will lend the Spokane Housing Authority more than $2.5 million to help turn the old Hillyard High School into apartments for homeless and low-income residents.

The loan was among some $22.5 million in loans and grants from the state Commerce Department’s Housing Trust Fund announced Wednesday by Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office.

“We’re very happy about that,” said Steve Cervantes, executive director of the Spokane Housing Authority. “We have all the elements to make this work.”

The project will restore much-needed housing, and the construction will provide economic stimulus in the community, he said.

The Housing Authority and Beacon Development Group of Seattle plan to renovate the Martindale Apartments at 5313 N. Regal St., putting in 51 units at an estimated cost of $11.4 million. The facility should open by the end of 2011, Cervantes said.

Plans call for 38 units for homeless people, including 26 for veterans. Twelve will be for households with incomes below 40 percent of the median family income.

The Martindale closed in May 2008 after the owner failed to pay utility bills to the city and Avista, and an audit revealed problems with the rents being charged to residents receiving government assistance. That left the city scrambling for low-income housing. The project is getting a historic tax credit and will preserve much of the old school structure in public areas, such as the 15-foot ceilings in the wide school hallways, Cervantes said. The Housing Authority is getting input from the local neighborhood organization on a new name for the apartment building.

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