The redevelopment of the administrative building of the Tecumseh schools is suspended

TECUMSEH – Plans to transform the former Tecumseh Public Schools administration building on Ottawa Street North into a 43-unit apartment complex have been put on hold because the developer was unable to receive tax credits for the historical preservation.

“We have a gap and that’s the reason we didn’t continue,” said Craig Patterson, senior vice president of development at Woda Cooper Companies of Columbus, Ohio. “We are trying to find other sources of money. The tax credit is our main business. This is how we mainly finance our developments all over the state and in the 15 other states where we work. We were hoping to combine housing tax credits and historic credits, but we were unable to get approval from the SHPO, the State Historic Preservation Office, to get these credits because they felt that our design that we had proposed was not historically accurate enough, that was the design we had on the dinghy.

The developer planned to demolish the building’s annex and erect a three-story structure with six units on each floor.

“What we were doing in the old building, they approved. They just didn’t allow us to demolish the annex, and we had to demolish the annex to get the full 43 units, ”Patterson said. “We are looking at different ways of designing the building to include dismantling the annex but harnessing the sources that would allow us to offset the loss of historic tax credits that we would have received had the SHPO approved it. “

Developers who want to turn the old Tecumseh Schools administration building on North Ottawa Street into apartments have missed historic preservation credits because state officials challenged plans to demolish the building's annex, pictured on 23 April 2021, and to build a three-story building an addition.

These sources would be the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

First of all, Woda Cooper is expected to score high on his MSHDA application in April, but this is made more difficult by the fact that he lost the historic tax credits, which would have counted towards the total points of the developer.

“In the past, we felt we were close to hand. But we must compensate for these points, in addition we must compensate for a loss of funding from these credits. So it’s an uphill battle, but as I told Rick (Hilderley, Superintendent of Tecumseh Public Schools) and Dan (Swallow), the City Manager, and I told Jessica (Sattler, the Principal economic development of the city), we will try to do our best because we love the site, we love the city, we know there is a great need and we can make this school look great after our rehabilitation, ”Patterson said. “If we are able to do it with MEDC and MSHDA, it will be a flagship project. It’s going to be great for the city. Hope we can do it.

Hilderley said the district has been with Woda Cooper all along. Maintenance issues have been resolved in the building and someone is checking it regularly. The administration moved to high school in August 2020.

“We told this group that we were with them until they told us they can’t go any further,” said Hilderley. “So that’s what we continue to do is wait for them to set a closing date and let us know.”

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