Last updated: August 25. 2014 5:50PM - 384 Views
By - cwasmundt@civitasmedia.com

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A plan for the vacant Green Acres lot would turn the land into an affordable and green living space for middle class families, according to The Community Builders director of development Jeff Beam.

The 15-acre property that once housed the county’s orphanage and was bought by the city in 2011 is still in the developmental phase, Beam said as he update city council on the project last week.

The land will be split between green space to offer a park and housing units. Some space will not be built on in hopes of attracting home builders, Beam said.

The number of apartments, their square-footage, and pricing is still up the air, Beam said.

The preliminary bedroom mix calls for 15 one-bedroom apartments, 30 two-bedroom apartments, and five three-bedroom apartments that range from $630-$876, he said.

The key is to offer affordable and modern housing for the city’s residents, he said.

TCB, which owns 1,600 apartments in Akron and Cincinnati, conducted a survey of local residents to feel out Oberlin’s needs.

The study found the most recent rental property in Oberlin was built in 1972 and 98 percent of the affordable apartments in the area are being used, Beam said.

“I’m not surprised that there’s a market demand in Oberlin for nice rentals,” councilman Brian Burgess said.

The council and TCB still need to work out many of the plans details, including who will own the property after construction is complete.

Beam said ownership of the land can take many forms. His company owns 75 percent of the properties it’s worked on like the Oberlin project.

Overall, the project will have a number of goals to fulfill aside from offering affordable housing for working families.

It will also feed into the city’s climate positive project of eliminated carbon emissions and create new sustainable base for economic and community development.

The city bought the land from the county for $265,000. The property was used as an orphanage from 1898 until it closed in 1995.

Caitlyn Wasmundt may be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @LC_CaitW.

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