The executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corp. says the planned construction of a $14.5 million housing project in the city of Washington sends a signal the community is ready to unlock economic development. The Washington Redevelopment Commission has approved the project that will see the construction of 144 market rate apartments. Bryant Niehoff says the project, which has been a year in the making, is expected to increase workforce attraction.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Niehoff said communities large and small are looking for new businesses and need housing to support new workers.
“We’re here to work with housing developers [and] with investors to make these projects happen. We know it’s a challenge. We know it’s a challenge in rural markets. We know it’s a challenge in today’s economic climate. But that doesn’t minimize the need for housing here in our community,” said Niehoff.
The nearly $15 million project will build six apartment buildings offering 1,000-1,200 square foot apartments in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations.
Niehoff says a housing study conducted two years ago revealed more market rate housing was needed to promote economic growth and job creation, “so this represents an important step forward.”
Niehoff says Davis County is growing and it has several economic development projects in the pipeline to accelerate and expand upon that growth. He says housing is integral towards that goal not only in Daviess County, but across the state.
“You don’t have to look very far here in Washington, not unlike any other community in the state of Indiana, where there are countless, ‘we’re hiring signs,’” said Niehoff. “We’ve seen the message loud and clear from the IEDC (Indiana Economic Development Corp.) and from Governor Holcomb that we need more people. And this project is perfectly in line with that strategy, all the way up to the state level.”
Now that the project received approval from the redevelopment commission, the developers will seek approval from the Washington Plan Commission and the city council.
The developer, Gibson County-based Simplified Developments, is seeking tax abatement and TIF-funded infrastructure to support the housing project.
“An added plus for Washington is that we hope to work with several local subcontractors for framing and other construction as we build out these apartments, so that will support local job creation and the economy,” said Phil Reinbrecht, president of Simplified Developments.
He says a separate company, Reinbrecht Homes, is making plans to develop a number of new residential homes for the Washington area.
Daviess County EDC says the developer has completed similar housing developments in Haubstadt and Princeton.
Assuming the project receives necessary approvals, construction would begin this year.
Editor’s Note: A previous story indicated there are 144 apartments in the complex. Niehoff says it is actually 143 apartments and space for a community gathering place.