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Housing Making way for a new beginning

September 20, 2018

While there is still work left to do, residents of Marina Village will no longer have to pass a trove of blighted properties that have plagued their neighborhood for years.

Though developers and the housing authority missed their July deadline, the next round of demolition of decrepit buildings in the public housing complex has begun, making way for long-awaited progress on the next phases of redevelopment of Marina Village into the new Windward Commons apartments.

“It’s so important that everyone here understands and realizes that this is what we’ve been living around and this is what we’ve been living amongst for so many months and so many years — and now it’s coming to (fruition),” said City Councilwoman Denese Taylor-Moye, who represents and lives in the public housing complex.

Demolition is expected to last up to six months, according to developers JHM Group, which is partnering with Park City Communities, which owns and manages the city’s public housing, to revitalize the complex. The Stamford-based developers will be addressing water retention and other infrastructure concerns prior to breaking ground on the new project, a serious concern after Hurricane Sandy flooded the complex in 2012.

Construction of the first phase of Windward Commons is expected to begin in coming months, bringing 60 new mixed-income housing units and a 7,600-square-foot health center to the portion of the complex facing Park Avenue. Once started, development of Windward Commons will continue into early 2019 with leasing projected for 2020.

Along with its market-rate and affordable components, roughly a third of the apartments have been set aside for residents who have been relocated during the redevelopment of Marina Village.

“We’ll follow some similar protocol that we followed in Phase One to make sure there is some separation between existing residents and the current demolition,” said Todd McClutchy, senior vice president of JHM Group

In previous projects conducted by JHM Group, including Crescent Crossings on the East Side, replacement units were offered for residents displaced from Marina Village, and McClutchy said the same is expected during construction of the Windward.

For now, however, residents neighboring demolition are still living in their units awaiting official plans for relocation, which has been a cause for concern over the summer as many expressed worries of being left out of the process.

Previously moved residents from Phase 2 buildings were provided with full relocation benefits including vouchers and paid moving expenses, according to PCC director James Slaughter, who has maintained that residents living in remaining buildings will be provided with the same benefits.

“All the residents who are relocated will have the opportunity for housing whether they choose to go to come back to Windward or Crescent Crossing or not,” he said, adding that the housing authority is still hammering out details of the incoming relocation process with the help of residents and Taylor-Moye’s input.

“Everything is going the way that it should go,” Taylor-Moye said. “It’s good to see that we’ve got this movement going because from here on it will continue.”

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