Coleman Professional Services has received a big chunk of the funding it needs to complete the Phoenix Project in downtown Ravenna.
The Ohio Development Services Agency has awarded historical tax credits of $515,000 for the housing and retail project planned for the landmark. Coleman was the only agency in Portage County to receive the funding, one of seven recipients in northeast Ohio and one of 22 across the state.
Coleman plans to put 10 apartments in the historic downtown building, spelled Phenix in 19th century documents. The plan also calls for three retail units on the ground floor.
The project cost is estimated at more than $2.6 million, and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2014.
"We are excited about this important funding opportunity," said Nelson Burns, president and CEO of Coleman Professional Services. "Coleman's Phoenix Project will bring an investment of $2.6 million in downtown Ravenna and will be a win-win for people with mental illness and the city of Ravenna."
Susan Schweitzer, who wrote the grant for Coleman, said The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a 25 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation expenses to owners and lessees of historically significant buildings.
One qualification that makes buildings eligible is being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Phoenix Building is listed individually, and as part of the historic downtown district.
Coleman also has applied for federal tax credits, which are for 20 percent of the project cost.
The project has received funding from a number of sources, including the Henry V. and Frances W. Christenson Foundation, the Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and the Coleman Foundation. Other grants or loans include the Ohio Development Services Agency, Portage County Commissioners, and the City of Ravenna.
Coleman also has applied for the Discretionary Targets of Opportunity Grants for Small Cities through the city of Ravenna.
Kerry Macomber, Ravenna's director of economic development, said the city is expecting to learn this week whether the project is approved for the Discretionary Targets of Opportunity grant, which is expected to total about $250,000.
"They have a very ambitious project with the Phoenix Building and it's going to require a lot of funding sources," she said. "This is one of many."
"This to me is a prime example of what kind of collaboration is needed to save our downtown," she said. "These projects aren't cheap, but they will have a significant effect on Main Street."
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