City leaders excited about potential affordable housing development

City leaders excited about potential affordable housing development

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A proposed affordable housing project in Biloxi could land the city more than half a million dollars, and help re-populate East Biloxi.

The Biloxi City Council is considering selling land to Chartre Companies, LTD for $523,500 to develop affordable single-family homes.

"I think this is a wonderful opportunity in that you've got a city with a renewed infrastructure, good jobs throughout the area," said developer Clarence Chapman.

Chapman plans to build 125 single-family homes similar to those he built in Pass Christian in 2011. The fully equipped, elevated homes at 1,750 square feet will be under a lease-to-own arrangement for 15 years with rents as low as $575 a month.

At the end of the 15 year term, the homes could be purchased for about $90,000.

City leaders are excited.

"It's our opportunity to grow and sort of paint the first stroke of a canvas we call East Biloxi," said Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich. "And just another component to bringing people back to east Biloxi and the Point."

Among the proposed sites is off Lee St. just south of the Kroc Center. Most of them are near and around Division St. Proponents say it puts homes within walking distances of a number of jobs, and puts 14 acres of dormant property back on the tax rolls.

Other properties also include the site of O'Reilly Park, the old city barn site and a fourth on Holley Circle that it plans to purchase from Hope Community Development Agency for resale to Chartre.

Biloxi Councilman Felix Gines knows firsthand what kind of impact the development could have.

"Right now, we don't have a grocery store at this point," Gines said. "And when you start populating the area, it will open it up for different businesses to come in."

The funding is through the Mississippi Housing Tax Credit that Chapman says  will pay down about 40 percent of the development costs.

The city council will have a workshop at 10:30 a.m. July 19, and the project could be put up for a vote during the regular city council meeting at 1:30 p.m. A deal could be made before the end of the month.

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