Triplett Twist may help land senior living facility

Abby Shelton, city development manager

Owensboro's Triplett Twist Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area played a small role in helping incentivize the planned construction of more than 40 low-income senior living facilities on property near Owensboro Health's Parrish Campus facility.

In fact, one city department is assisting Wabuck Development Co. where it can in applying for the Kentucky Housing Corp. tax credit, Gap Program and related grants that will help fund the project, sources say.

The city recorded an $8.8 million spike in private Triplett Twist investments this week, one of the largest gains the area has seen since it was identified for federal funding more than five years ago. It's a direct product of last month's announcement that Wabuck would purchase 17 Owensboro Health properties between Center and Hathaway streets in Owensboro for the construction of the Grace Senior Living Community— 42 one-bedroom apartments for low-income residents who are 55 and older.

But the investment also represents a major victory for block grant funding advocates like Community Development Director Abby Shelton who took a risk in Triplett Twist by shaping a portion of its success around business-friendly incentivized development. It comes on the heels of Owensboro recently clenching a deal with Gabe's Tower owner Bob Zimmerman to purchase his aging eyesore, and getting facade rehabilitation back on track at Gabe's Shopping Center nearby.

"It's kind of a last-minute success and it's kind of not," Shelton said. "With anything, government is slow and it takes a while for private investors to jump on board."

Wabuck and Owensboro Health will go before the Owensboro Metropolitan Board of Adjustment on Thursday, July 11, for a conditional use permit to build an adult daycare center on one acre of vacant land at the north end of the proposed development near Parrish Avenue.

The draft permit states that the developer plans to consolidate five properties where it will build the 6,400-square-foot facility.

According to Shelton, the total project is expected to cost up to $9 million. The city may be prepared to offer the developer more incentives to build, but officials would not release more details on what those proposals may be Wednesday.

Wabuck manages more than 4,000 housing units in Kentucky. The company played a strategic role in several Owensboro projects including the Learning Villa and Independence Heights. The Grace community will offer daily living and health care services in addition to recreational activities.

It was the close proximity to shopping and health care services that made the site so attractive, said Wabuck Vice President Tracey Glasscock.

"Frankly, it turned out to be an extra plus that we were happy to take advantage of," she said. "The city has been very helpful in that process."

The KHC tax credit application is exhaustive and will require an enormous amount of private and public resources to complete housing analyses, community surveys and more. Being able to tick the neighborhood revitalization strategy box is a major plus, she added.

Austin Ramsey, 270-691-7302, aramsey@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @austinrramsey

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