Mesa officials held a ceremony Monday morning to mark the start of construction on Encore, a five-story, 81-unit independent senior living center in downtown.
The project had some critics early on as neighboring businesses expressed concern about a low-to-moderate income housing development in an area that’s trying to pick up from the recession. But officials Monday marked the need for the facility, for the city and its future residents.
“Encore on First Avenue is important housing for our seniors and allows them to become a part of Mesa’s burgeoning downtown,” council member and Community and Cultural Development Council Sub-Committee chairman Dave Richins said in a news release. “This will bring much needed housing to downtown, which is key to our new form-based code.”
The Mesa City Council approved the code earlier this year to “to be flexible and help create a compact, vibrant and walkable transit-oriented urban built environment or create traditional neighborhoods with a greater emphasis on size and look of buildings.”
Encore on First Avenue will be located at 25 W. First Avenue. Encore and is being developed by Mesa Housing Associates.
“Encore on First Avenue is a great example of a public-private partnership as it qualified for the state’s housing tax credit, which was key to this new urban housing becoming a reality,” Arizona Department of Housing director Michael Trailor said in a release.
The development, because it started construction by Nov. 1, will be able to use Arizona Department of Housing low-income tax credits.
“Encore will help in the transformation of downtown as it will replace a parking lot with a neighborhood,” Mesa Housing Associates partner Charles Huellmantel said in a release. “Residents will have easy access to the Mesa Arts Center, light rail, the new colleges, retail and other amenities.”
Construction on Encore on First Avenue is expected to be complete by October 2013.