Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Catholic Charities of OKC, Denver-Based Mercy Housing Team Up to Rebuild Lawton Apartments

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Catholic Charities of OKC, Denver-Based Mercy Housing Team Up to Rebuild Lawton Apartments

Article excerpt

In 1992, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City needed some help with the redevelopment of a nursing home.

With the aid of Mercy Housing, a national nonprofit housing developer, the nursing home was renovated and a new nursing home was constructed. The two facilities now operate as Villa Isenbart and Trinity Gardens, providing one- and two-bedroom apartments for elderly residents at NW 119th Street and N. Portland Avenue in Oklahoma City, said Tim O'Connor, executive director of Catholic Charities.

Now 15 years after the start of the nursing home project, Catholic Charities and Denver-based Mercy Housing are again combining efforts to rebuild the 64-unit Columbia Square Apartments, an affordable housing complex in Lawton. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday.

The current Columbia Square complex, built in the 1970s, will be demolished. New buildings will be constructed on existing foundations. The complex has 10 separate buildings with apartments and a community building with a management office.

"This is a celebration of four years of planning and the actual beginning of demolition and new construction for this renewed housing development," O'Connor said.

Construction will be completed in stages.

The first new units are scheduled to be ready in October. The construction project is expected to be completed in December 2008.

The new Columbia Square will have 14 two-bedroom units and 50 three-bedroom apartments.

While Catholic Charities and Mercy Housing are the lead development partners, they had some help from other agencies. Financing is being provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Enterprise Community Investment, Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, Bank of Oklahoma and Catholic Charities.

"When Mercy Housing was able to receive an allocation of low- income housing tax credits through the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency to make the project financially viable, we were able to move forward," said Chris Nervig, Mercy Housing senior project developer. …

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