Bulldozers could be moving dirt for Pioneer Place by the first quarter of 2018, a landmark moment for Pastor Michael Evans and the congregation at Bethlehem Baptist Church.
The income-adjusted apartment complex will have 135 units for residents 55 and older at 1197 W. Broad St., just across the street from the 134-year-old church.
"We’re offering a quality product at much more of a reduced rate than anybody in the area," Evans said. "We believe senior adults deserve to live out their golden years in style, comfort and security. I predict we will be leased up within the first week of advertisement."
Each apartment will have its own kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom and washer and dryer.
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Residents could start moving in by the summer of 2019, Evans said.
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Development approved the use of tax credits that will subsidize rent for the project. Rent will range from $400 a month up to $900 a month for the one and two bedroom units. Other senior independent living facilities rent for $2,000 a month or more in the area.
The 113,500-square-foot facility will have common area amenities and an outdoor courtyard. The parking lot will be gated for security.
Evans said he wants to create a vibrant community with on-site healthcare, social work, recreation and food services.
Building affordable housing for seniors has been a 12-year mission for the predominantly black church.. The hardest part was buying the land across the street from the church for the facility.
"It took a long time to purchase the property and negotiating all that," Evans said.
The church started its own nonprofit, Historic West Mansfield Texas Community Development Corporation, to raise money to buy the land.
It’s taken a lot of hard work by the Bethlehem church and volunteers in coordination with Mansfield officials, Evans said.
"We appreciate the partnership with the city of mansfield. This would not have happened without the cooperation of the mayor, council and especially City Manager Clayton Chandler and his [Deputy City Manager] Joe Smolinski," Evans said.