Fayette County

One of city's largest affordable housing complexes for seniors to get $10 million update

Ballard Place and Connie Griffith Manor in Lexington, Ky., Monday,  September 16, 2013.
Ballard Place and Connie Griffith Manor in Lexington, Ky., Monday, September 16, 2013.

One of Lexington's largest affordable housing complexes for seniors is getting a $10.3 million upgrade and makeover.

The eight-story Ballard Apartment building off of Jefferson Street was originally built in 1978 and has 134 one-bedroom units for people age 62 who meet income requirements. The interior was remodeled in 1999. The $10.3 million project will include updates to the apartments but also much-needed energy improvements including efficient windows and bath fixtures, a new roof and energy-efficient lighting.

Mayor Jim Gray and Austin Simms, the executive director of the Lexington Housing Authority, which owns Ballard Apartments, announced the renovation at a press conference Thursday.

The project will be funded in part using $300,000 from Lexington's affordable housing fund. That $300,000 puts the total investment in affordable housing by the city at $11.9 million since the fund was created in 2014. But the city has been able to leverage those affordable housing funds with additional federal and private money for a total investment of $100 million, said Gray.

"Lexington is over the $100 million mark," Gray said. "Since we founded our affordable housing trust fund just four years ago, we have leveraged $101 million in private investment in affordable housing in our community."

Much of that money has been used to preserve and update the number of affordable housing units the city already has. Senior affordable housing has become a growing need in Fayette County.

In addition to the $300,00 in city money, the rehabilitation project will also be paid for using tax credits from the Kentucky Housing Corp., $300,000 in additional federal funds and $100,000 from the Lexington Housing Authority.

Simms said to make projects like Ballard happen, the housing authority has to leverage and use multiple funding sources.

"The construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing anywhere mandates partnering with other entities, allowing creative financing to accomplish our goals," said Simms.

Construction will begin in December or January. Residents will be temporarily relocated for six months during construction. The plans are to update 40 units at a time. The housing authority plans to relocate those residents to nearby Connie Griffith Towers and other housing authority units. The authority said it will pay for all costs related to relocating the residents during construction.