Incentives for New Hampshire Street Lofts project, which seeks to add affordable senior housing in downtown Lawrence, get initial approval from City Commission

photo by: H2B architects

A rendering shows a proposed mixed use building that would provide senior housing and commercial space near 11th and New Hampshire streets.

Lawrence developer Tony Krsnich’s proposed affordable housing project for seniors slated for the southern end of downtown Lawrence has already been granted numerous development incentives, and on Tuesday it was set on the path to be granted even more.

The Lawrence City Commission voted unanimously to approve Krsnich’s requests to establish a Neighborhood Revitalization Area at 1000 New Hampshire St. and use Industrial Revenue Bond financing for a sales tax exemption on construction materials for his New Hampshire Street Lofts project. With the new Neighborhood Revitalization Area designation, the project would get a 15-year, 95% tax rebate.

“For me, this project is part of our long-term plan, it’s within our long-term plan of density as well as affordable housing that we’ve been wanting to stress,” Mayor Lisa Larsen said ahead of the vote. “… I think that this is a good project to invest our dollars in our community, so I’m going to support it.”

As the Journal-World reported, Krsnich in 2021 signed a deal that gave him redevelopment rights to the entire chunk of Allen Press properties at the southern end of downtown Lawrence, and he wants to start with the New Hampshire Street Lofts project. The project would add nearly 50 units of rent-controlled affordable housing for residents 55 and older across 48 total units and approximately 54,000 square feet of residential space.

The project is planned to be a mixed-use development, with roughly 15,000 square feet of commercial space slated for the first floor of the planned four-story building. It’s similar in design to the Penn Street Lofts project Krsnich developed in the nearby Warehouse Arts District.

Under the terms of the Neighborhood Revitalization Area rebate program, the city, Douglas County and the Lawrence school district each will continue to receive 100% of the property taxes generated by the property, with the 95% rebate applying to the value of the new improvements made to the property.

Since it’s subject to three separate taxing jurisdictions, the incentives package will still need to go to the Douglas County Commission and the Lawrence school board so those two governments can decide whether to approve the package as well. If they do, it will return to city commissioners once more for final approval at a future meeting.

Along with the incentives granted a first round of approval Tuesday, the project has received millions in separate financial incentives to date, the largest chunk of which was nearly $18 million in state and federal housing tax credits. Krsnich said the project has ended up with a historic amount of funding support.

“Thankfully, we were able to secure what I believe is the largest competitive allocation of affordable housing tax credits (from the) National Housing Trust Fund in the state of Kansas’ history, so we’re very pleased for that,” Krsnich said.

Krsnich said Tuesday the hope is to break ground on the New Hampshire Street Lofts project by December, or early 2024 at the latest. He added that the commercial space on the first floor may be a good opportunity for something like a “boutique grocery store” space, and he’s also been considering developing a larger, more traditional grocery store on property he owns directly to the west of the project.


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