Financing in place for St. Thomas senior home

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ST. THOMAS - V.I. Housing Authority Executive Director Robert Graham said Wednesday the financing for the $31 million senior housing facility on St. Thomas has been finalized, and the project now can move ahead.

He said the closing on the financing took place Tuesday.

"It's been a long journey. It's been a couple of years," Graham said at the V.I. Housing Authority board's regular meeting.

The Housing Authority purchased the land on the hillside above the Island Periodicals building and east of the Foothills Medical Building in 2012 from Lockhart Realty for about $1.3 million.

The Housing Authority will construct 80 units for seniors who can live independently. It will be affordable rental housing, built with low-income housing tax credits, Graham has said.

At Wednesday's meeting, Graham said the land has been cleared and is being flattened in preparation for construction.

The construction is expected to take about 16 months, and the Housing Authority hopes to complete the project by January 2016, Graham said.

The funds have been placed in escrow, and he is working on scheduling an official ground breaking ceremony for late August, Graham said.

Board chairman Luis Sylvester said he was glad to hear the project is moving forward.

"Senior housing is in desperate need in this territory," he said.

Sylvester asked how many jobs the construction is expected to create.

Housing Authority officials said the construction will support about 170 jobs.

"Any good news like this is welcome news in this economy," Sylvester said.

The facility will include a parking garage under the building, a community center and outdoor gardens.

A single entrance and exit point will share the entrance to the Foothills Medical Building.

The facility will have two buildings, with three floors of living space plus the lower level parking garage.

Its proximity to Schneider Hospital and many doctor offices, labs and pharmacies makes it an ideal location, according to Graham.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email

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