National Church Residences has resubmitted to Worthington a new plan to redesign Stafford Village at 814 Hartford St. in the heart of the city, and the version continues to involve 65 apartments that will be designated as "affordable," according to the company.
Correction and clarification: After this story was published online and in the Dec. 5 edition of the ThisWeek Worthington News, National Church Residences sent corrected information on the income threshold for "affordable" apartments at Stafford Village and clarified a quote about 65 "affordable" apartments being maintained there. The rent will be set at a level affordable to a senior household with an annual income no more than 60% of the central Ohio median. The 65 apartments, while not mentioned in specific documents, have been part of the company's talking points since the plan was proposed, according to Todd Hutchins, director of public relations.
National Church Residences has resubmitted to Worthington a new plan to redesign Stafford Village at 814 Hartford St. in the heart of the city, and this version continues to involve 65 apartments that will be designated as "affordable," according to the company.
George Tabit, vice president of senior housing for the company, said the plan was presented to the Worthington Architectural Review Board on Nov. 22.
Worthington spokesperson Anne Brown said the company resubmitted a proposal that will be on the Dec. 12 agenda.
A previously submitted plan was tabled Feb. 14. The company's last presentation to the ARB was Feb. 28, according to Todd Hutchins, public-relations director for National Church Residences.
Tabit said the new plan is being completed by the same architect, Brian Jones of the Jones Studio in Columbus.
Tabit said the company has made several changes, including lowering rooflines, preserving a historical sycamore tree and changing the traffic flow for vehicle and pedestrian safety.
The plan continues to maintain 65 apartments that are designated as "affordable" at the location, he said.
Hutchins said Stafford Village currently has 88 apartments, and 117 apartments would be at Stafford Village after the new facilities are completed.
Sixty-five of the current 88 apartments are designated as "affordable," with the rent subject to several guidelines, including those provided by government programs, Tabit said.
"We're really excited about the changes," Tabit said. "It's an opportunity to not only preserve the existing 65 affordable apartments at this location but to expand senior-housing options."
In terms of the cost for the affordable apartments, Hutchins said, National Church Residences follows the same approach as the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and others to determine their affordable rent.
"This means rent will be set at a level affordable to a senior household with an annual income (no more than) 60% of the central Ohio median," he said.
That figure – an annual income no more than 60% of the central Ohio median – is $37,440 per year, according to Tabit.
Tabit said the adjustments have been the result of meeting with the community and from feedback the company has received from residents.
"We've really been working for two years to do an extensive public-outreach process and community-engagement process to figure out, 'OK, everybody agrees Stafford Village is no longer sustainable as a senior community, how do we go about changing in a way that is best for the community?' " he said.
No timeline has been set for construction, he said.
Nancy Mason, a Stafford Village resident, said most of the residents have moved out now.
"It's like a ghost town around here," she said.
She said she and a few other residents would be moved to the portion of the complex that is being preserved, but some residents she knows who have not been relocated either to the other portion or a different property.
Hutchins said it is hard to determine how many residents would choose to return, but every resident who wants to return would be able to do at the same rent rate.
"We are hopeful that the city approval process will move quickly so we can begin construction," he said. "The sooner we finish, the more likely we believe residents will be able to return to their community."
The Stafford Village apartments were constructed in the 1970s in conjunction with Worthington Presbyterian Church, according to Tabit. In 2016, the company acquired the portion the church owned, he said.
National Church Residences, headquartered in Upper Arlington, is a "not-for-profit provider of affordable senior housing options, with 340 communities around the country and Puerto Rico," according to its website.