Apartments still planned for old school despite owners’ failure to secure tax credits this year
Although a Lawrence company’s application for tax credits to renovate the old school on Chapel Street were not among those approved for 2015, its makeover into apartments remains the goal of its new owner.
Tony Krsnich, president of Flint Hills Holding LLC of Lawrence, said the company’s application of affordable-housing tax credits to help finance the renovation of the old middle school into apartments were not among those the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation approved for 2015. The company planned to resubmit the application for 2016, he said.
He and the company continue to believe the old school’s conversion into apartments would be the best use for the old middle school, Krsnich said. The company’s preferred option would be to renovate the building into market-rate apartments for Baker University students. Such a makeover would provide the students with some of the highest quality apartments in the country, he said.
The second option would be to provide affordable-housing apartments in the old school, Krsnich said. He added that both the options were dependent on the decisions of others, and it was the second option the company pursued with a tax credit application. Flint Hills has developed a number of older buildings in Kansas through the use of historic preservation tax credits and affordable housing tax credits, including the Polar Lofts in east Lawrence.
Flint Hills obtained a multiple-unit residential zoning on the old school in April. At that time Flint Hills Vice President Tom Larkin told planning commissioners and the City Council the plan was to use historical preservation and affordable housing tax credits to help finance the $5.3 million redevelopment of the Chapel Street school. The use of tax credits also requires a percentage of the apartments be designated “affordable.” Larkin said 75 percent of the old school’s apartments would be so designated and the remaining would be rented at market rates.
Historical preservation tax credits are awarded to applicants when construction is completed and it is deemed the project met program guidelines.
Should the two preferred options not materialize, Flint Hills would consider selling the old school to another party, Krsnich said.
As for the South Gym, Bauer said he planned to use the building as a wood shop, a use that would require no rezoning of the property. He had no interest in developing the property for any commercial or residential use, he said.