More than 100 single-family, owner-occupied homes will soon rise on 80 acres near downtown once occupied by the Bluegrass-Aspendale housing project.
Officials gathered at the site across from the new William Wells Brown Elementary School on Tuesday to announce the development aimed at low-income families.
"The east end of downtown Lexington has been waiting for change for many, many years," Mayor Jim Newberry said.
Construction will begin quickly. Shortly after a morning news conference, red flags were being placed to mark the first houses, and signs for builders and real estate agents lined Julia Street, which runs through the development.
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Called Equestrian View, the new subdivision will consist of houses that cost between $100,000 to $120,000. The Lexington-Fayette County Housing Authority will sell the lots for $12,000 each — less than half their appraised value — to keep the houses affordable.
The city and the housing authority will provide $300,000 in down-payment assistance.
Houses will have brick and stone façades, and be energy efficient. Each house also will come with a computer to help break the low-income cycle through education.
The Kentucky Housing Authority and an organization called REACH Inc., will work with potential buyers to help them qualify for loans.
Chris Ford of REACH said a family of four with a gross income of less than $51,000 would qualify for one of the homes.
Nine of the houses will be made available to families that don't meet those requirements but still need affordable housing.
The housing authority worked with the Homebuilders Association of Lexington to choose eight builders, including two owned by minorities, to do the construction. The builders are Ball Homes, C.B. Homes, Cravens Inc., LJ Construction Management Group LLC, SJM Homes, Brester Homes of KY, Webb Beatty Homes and Via Vitae Development LLC.
Homeowners will sign a five-year agreement to prevent them from turning around and selling a house for a quick profit, said Austin Simms, the housing authority's executive director.
The development is the last portion of a $20 million federal grant the city won in 2005. The grant already has been used to leverage more than $80 million in development, Simms said.
Bluegrass-Aspendale, built in phases from 1936 to 1951, was often the scene of drug-dealing and other crimes. It was demolished in 2006.
For more information on qualifying for a house, contact REACH at (859) 455-8057 or one of the builders.