A patch of Delaware that played host to a condemned eyesore for years soon will be a brand-new home for dozens of senior citizens.
Construction of Delaware Place, a new housing complex for low-income seniors, is under way.
Workers were set to break ground today, Sept. 30, at 351 S. Sandusky St., the former site of the Delaware Hotel.
The new facility is being developed by real estate contractor Miller-Valentine Group and will feature inexpensive independent and assisted-living options for low-income residents ages 55 and up.
The planned $11.5 million, four-story complex is set to open as early as fall 2013 with 63 one- and two-bedroom residential spaces, as well as seven adjacent single-story duplex villas.
It will serve residents with incomes up to 60 percent of the median household income for Delaware County.
"The end product is affordable senior housing that will help serve a vast, growing need in the city," said Delaware Community Affairs Coordinator Lee Yoakum.
The 5.4-acre property also will include an on-site fitness facility, a technology center with Internet-ready computers and a theater.
Each room will feature a large walk-in closet, and there will be laundry facilities on each of the elevator-accessible floors along with an intruder alarm system, said Miller-Valentine spokesman Colin Jeffries.
The residential portion of the development is set to open first, with a commercial component to follow. Yoakum said it might feature a clinic or doctor's office, a wellness center or other businesses that might benefit seniors.
A third phase, adding 20 to 30 additional residential units, may be considered in the future.
The site originally was the location of a Holiday Inn hotel, which opened in 1974. Later known as the Delaware Hotel, it was condemned in 2008 for code and safety violations.
The building, located between South Sandusky Street and U.S. Route 23 at Weiser Avenue, became an eyesore following an arson fire in July 2009 that caused more than $900,000 in damage.
Plans for redevelopment of the site were jump-started in 2010 when the city purchased the land with the help of a federal grant and demolished the hotel.
The Miller-Valentine Group was selected to redevelop the property in 2011 with a $1.1 million tax credit from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.
Yoakum said the project was a top priority because the conspicuous site is Delaware's visual front door for motorists driving north on Route 23.
"It's almost our signature focal point as you're coming into the city of Delaware, and it wasn't a very appealing focal point," he said.
In a written statement, City Manager Tom Homan said the development was "a long time coming."
"The hotel had a destabilizing effect on the neighborhood," he said, "but using federal grant dollars and going through this process, we fix this problem, improve the neighborhood and make the city a better place to live."