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Editorial: First property deal is a good start for Northcott project

Nov. 14, 2012 @ 06:57 AM

Officials earlier this year made the bold decision to replace a public housing complex and open up a key strip of property for commercial development in Huntington. Last week they took a first crucial step toward making that happen.

The Huntington Urban Renewal Authority sold land in the 1600 block of Doulton Avenue to the Housing Development Corp., a private nonprofit organization that works with the Huntington Housing Authority, for $153,000. That will allow the Housing Development Corp. to start building a 40-unit senior townhouse complex on the property in January or February.

That will be the first phase of work to replace the 129-unit, barracks-style Northcott Court public housing complex along Hal Greer Boulevard with a mixture of affordable senior and family housing throughout the Fairfield West neighborhood. The Housing Authority has applied for funding to demolish Northcott Court, thus making the four acres it sits on available for commercial development.

When the possibility of such a project first surfaced, the benefits were readily apparent. Families living in housing built in the 1940s and located on one of the city's more heavily traveled streets would have a chance to live in modern facilities away from the busy thoroughfare. A major gateway into the city could be improved, and land more suited for commercial use would be made available.

But there were doubts initially that the city could come through with its part of the undertaking, which was to help make land available through HURA's land bank program. This first property deal is a good signal.

Now, the Housing Authority will continue to work with HURA on acquiring property to build the second 40-unit senior townhouse complex and 50 more affordable units for families.

There's still a long way to go on this project, but the partnering agencies are wasting no time in getting it off the ground.



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