Fayette County

Ferrill Square Apartments is first project for Lexington affordable-housing fund

A low-income housing complex for seniors and disabled adults is one of the first projects financed through Lexington's new affordable housing trust fund, the city announced Wednesday.

The 59 one-bedroom units at Ferrill Square Apartments on Price Road will soon get fresh paint, energy-efficient appliances, new tile and carpet, storm windows and a new roof. A $400,000 grant from the city's affordable housing fund will help pay for those improvements.

The renovations are expected to be completed by early 2016.

First African Baptist Church owns the apartment building, which originally was the Douglass School for African American students. The building was vacant from 1972 to 1999. It was then renovated and turned into Kanisa Apartments. Three years ago, the building was renamed after London Ferrill, a former slave and preacher at the First African Baptist Church.

"A revitalized spirit has been growing at Ferrill Square over the past several years," said Rev. Nathl Moore, pastor of First African Baptist Church. "We are grateful for the wonderful collaboration between the city, our contractor REACH Inc. and our management company, Beacon Properties."

The Office of Affordable Housing was created in 2014 to help create and preserve affordable housing in Lexington. Community groups had pushed for its creation for more than eight years. Housing studies in Fayette County show that a growing number of residents are paying more than 30 percent of their total income on housing. As the economy has improved over the past several years, many apartment units that were once affordable have been renovated but now charge too much for low-income renters.