The Ocean City Housing Authority continues to explore the possibility of expanding and rebuilding its low-income housing units in Ocean City.
An Authority subcommittee will meet on Thursday (Jan. 22) with representatives of Pennrose, a Philadelphia-based property management company, as it seeks answers to a couple basic questions: What would it cost? And where would the money come from?
“The onus is on them to show us how they can accomplish that,” said Scott Halliday, a member of the Housing Authority redevelopment subcommittee along with Edmond Speitel and Chairman William Woods.
The Housing Authority, operates under the auspices of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and currently administers 20 Peck’s Beach Village units on the north side of Fourth Street (between Simpson and West avenues) for senior citizens and 40 units on the south side of Fourth Street for families, along with senior housing at Bay View Manor that includes 61 units in a five-story building at Sixth Street and West Avenue.
The Housing Authority hopes first to add a new building on an Authority-owned parking lost adjacent to Bay View Manor.
Housing Authority Executive Director Alesia Watson said the new building would have to include at least 20 units — enough to house the seniors that would be displaced if the homes at Peck’s Beach Village were ever rebuilt.
The Housing Authority hired Pennrose for its expertise in securing funding and financing.
Pennrose is working to help the Housing Authority secure a $6 million to $7 million federal Community Development Block Grant for housing authorities affected by Superstorm Sandy. Watson said Ocean City applied for the funding more than a year ago, and she reported Tuesday that she’d like to schedule a “face-to-face” meeting with the grant administrators in February.
The company is seeking competitive Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that encourage private investment in affordable housing.
The Housing Authority also hopes to partner with the City of Ocean City and potentially use some of the $2.1 million in development fees that the city has been required to collect for affordable housing initiatives.
Representatives from the city will attend the Thursday meeting with Pennrose.
The Housing Authority also voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize the subcommittee to negotiate an agreement with Pennrose for “the expansion and redevelopment of Bay View Manor and Peck’s Beach Village.” The agreement would expand Pennrose’s role in any potential redevelopment project.
The Housing Authority meets only bi-monthly, and it wanted to empower the subcommittee to act in the interim.
Housing Authority Solicitor Charles Gabage suggested that the subcommittee should consider making the City of Ocean City a party to any agreement if the city contributes to the redevelopment.
The construction of a new building at Bay View Manor would be the first step in a project that could include the building of 122 new elevated units to replace the 60 flood-prone units of the existing Peck’s Beach Village.
The units are rented to low-income residents at low rental rates — with preference given to veterans, the disabled and existing Ocean City residents.
Tuesday’s meeting also included the re-election of Woods as chairman of the Housing Authority and of Stu Sirott as vice chairman.