The developer of the Delaware Place senior housing complex proposed on the site of the old Delaware Hotel at the southern end of the city received a $1.1-million tax credit last week for from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency the first phase of the project.

The developer of the Delaware Place senior housing complex proposed on the site of the old Delaware Hotel at the southern end of the city received a $1.1-million tax credit last week for from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency the first phase of the project.

The tax credit was instrumental in the project moving forward, according to City Planner David Efland.

Phase 1 of the Miller Valentine Group project will consist of 63 units, including the primary, multistory building on the former Delaware Hotel site, as well as seven, single-story duplex buildings at an estimated cost of $11.5 million. Construction is planned for early next year with some units becoming available as early as the fall of 2013.

"This is a wonderful day for our community and for our senior housing options moving forward for those seniors with limited income," Efland said.

In planning parlance, the proposed site - between South Sandusky Street and U.S. Route 23 at Weiser Avenue - is considered the city's "front door." In the years since the Delaware Hotel shuttered its windows, that front door has gone from eyesore to vacant lot.

"This will begin in earnest the stabilization of the South Sandusky Street corridor, and will establish a prominent and worthy 'front door' for the greater Delaware community along U.S. 23," Efland said. "The Miller Valentine Group has proven to be a great choice with which to partner on a quality project at this critical location."

The Miller Valentine Group is anxious to get started, according to spokeswoman Denise Blake.

"We are excited to be working with the city of Delaware to provide a much-needed affordable housing option for seniors in Delaware, while contributing to the revitalization of the South Sandusky Street corridor," Blake said.

"The city has been a great partner throughout this process and we are grateful for this opportunity and the support we have received," she said. "We look forward to providing quality housing that will provide a peace of mind for the senior residents. Once completed, Delaware Place will provide exceptional, affordable housing options for seniors and serve as a distinguished gateway into Delaware."

Statewide, more than $29 million in federal housing tax credits was awarded to 37 developments that will serve families, seniors and individuals with disabilities. HTC award-recipients are selected based on the policies and goals of the program, including affordability, location and experience of the development team.

The 2012 HTC recipients were chosen from among 102 applicants seeking more than $80 million in credits. The credits requested exceeded the total housing credit funds available by more than $56 million.

"The Miller Valentine Group and the city of Delaware stood out in this competitive funding process and reflect OHFA's shared commitment to continue providing affordable, quality, safe, decent housing for Ohio's families with low- to moderate-incomes," said Doug Garver, executive director of the agency.

Blake said Miller Valentine will consider a second, commercial phase upon completion of the Phase 1.

"We'll be looking to attract, say, a local doctor's office, maybe a chiropractor, a small wellness center, businesses like that," she said.

Phase 3 is scheduled for 20 to 30 additional residential units, "depending, obviously, on market conditions."

City Community Affairs Coordinator Lee Yoakum said Delaware Place "will be the most visible and significant milestone (in the neighborhood) since the Delaware Hotel was built and opened in the 1970s.

"Redeveloping this 'white elephant' and creating a much more stabilizing and productive, tax-bearing enterprise improves the neighborhood and makes our city a better place to live," he said.

Yoakum said in many cases, a project such as Delaware Place will encourage future development in the area.

"The potential exists for various development sectors," he said. "But it seems logical that health- and wellness-related providers could become especially interested in the area."