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Housing rehab project in Wilmington's Creative District ready to begin

Wilmington’s planned Creative District is taking a major step forward.

Starting next month, Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware will begin work on the Willing Street Artists Village – transforming six vacant houses in the city’s Quaker Hill District into 10 condos and homes with artist studios.

The $1.7 million dollar project is the first new piece of the Creative District to move from vision to reality – and the district’s managing director Carrie Gray says it will serve as the project's foundation.

 

“This is one of the biggest components of the Creative District overall – the affordable housing for artists," said Gray. "So the fact that we are getting our first 10 units out of the ground and that we’re rehabbing these buildings and bringing them back to life is really going to not only transform the neighborhood, but provide the anchor presence in the neighborhood of artists that’s really going to make a difference ”

Interfaith Community Housing executive director Gary Pollioadds making use of properties vacant for years is significant for residents already living in the neighborhood

 

“[The vacant buildings] attract crime.  They attract littering.  And they just create an unstable force in the neighborhood," said Pollio.  "So for us to be able to transform these properties – especially for homeownership [and to] create more homeowners in a neighborhood that’s becoming more rental, I think is a real positive.”

 

The seven condos created will be priced between $60,000 to $70,000.  The three, 2-to-3 bedroom single-family homes will cost between 125,000 to $140,000.    Gray says they will all be built with the artists needs in mind.

 

The Willing Street Artists Village is one of the first projects using money from the state’s Strong Neighborhood Housing Fund.

 

$750,000 thousand dollars from that fund and Downtown Development Districts incentives are being combined with 1.2 million dollars in private investment to make the project happen.

Work on the buildings is expected to begin next month and they should be ready for use next summer.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades.
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