City, state, and federal officials gathered at the site of Lincoln Towers, formerly an outdated public housing building at 1625 Gilpin Avenue in Wilmington, Delaware, to mark the start of a new energy efficient “green” apartment community that will offer affordable housing to seniors age 62 and older with a variety of incomes, as well as a new home to the Wilmington Fire Department’s Station #5.
"We are so grateful for the community’s support of our vision to bring affordable housing to the elderly and to revitalize outdated public housing,” said Frederick S. Purnell, Sr., Executive Director of the Wilmington Housing Authority. “This new building will enhance one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the City while continuing to provide much-needed affordable housing opportunities in the area,” Purnell said.
Wilmington Mayor James Baker, who along with members of the Wilmington City Council participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking, called the development a “win-win” for the entire city.
“This development represents an innovative solution to a long-standing problem—how to replace two outdated buildings in a logical, cost-effective way,” the Mayor said. “When completed, the new Lincoln Towers will be an attractive and comfortable housing community that also serves as home to a state-of-the-art fire station.” In his remarks, Mayor Baker thanked The Wilmington Housing Authority for its commitment to serving the housing needs of citizens and for working with the City to provide essential fire safety services to the community.
The newly constructed Lincoln Towers will feature 80 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom apartments, all of which will be adaptable for residents with disabilities. In addition, the new community will offer a series of amenities such as on-site underground parking, laundry facilities on each floor, a fitness center, a computer lab, and expanded community space for supportive and social services.
The new Fire Station #5 will feature the latest firefighting amenities and will serve as home to the Wilmington Fire Department’s Engine Company #5 and its 16 firefighters as well as four Battalion Chiefs. The new firehouse will also have additional space for reserve fire apparatus. It replaces the current Fire Station #5, located nearby on Gilpin Avenue, which has been in continuous operation since the early 1800’s.
The recipient of stimulus funding in 2009 after the WHA and its development partner Michaels Development Company secured a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lincoln Towers is being designed with high energy-efficiency systems and materials, making it one of the premier “green” buildings in the City of Wilmington.
"We applaud Wilmington for leading the effort to promote the 'greening' of public housing to save energy and money for the Housing Authority and the residents," said HUD Regional Administrator Jane C. W. Vincent.
The Lincoln Towers revitalization has created hundreds of jobs in the local community— a priority for both WHA and Michaels Development. Michaels selected several Wilmington-based firms for its development team, including the architectural firm, Design Collaborative Inc., and EDiS, which is serving as the General Contractor. Michaels’ sister company, the award-winning Interstate Realty Management, will serve as the Lincoln Tower’s property manager and social services provider when the community opens in July 2012.
In addition to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grant, the funding for this development includes Equity from the syndication of Low Income Housing Tax Credits allocated from Delaware State Housing Authority; WHA Replacement Housing Factor Funds; Tax-exempt bonds issued by the City of Wilmington; HOME funds provided by the City of Wilmington, and Federal Home Loan Bank Funds.
“We are very proud to be a partner in this important effort, and we are delighted to be celebrating the start of a development that all stakeholders believe in and want to see transformed into reality,” said Robert Greer, President of Michaels Development Company.