Monday, April 23, 2012

Capstone Awaits May Grant $ Decision

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—The principal of Capstone Communities is waiting for a decision from the state Department of Housing and Community Development expected in May about whether or not a nearly $4 million grant to rebuild the so-called Knight Building will be approved.
“There are 52 applicants and only 8 will get it,” said Jason Korb, during last Thursday’s Ward 2 meeting at George’s CafĂ©. “If we get it in May we can be in the ground by August,” he said.
The state housing grant is the last, and an integral piece in a project to convert the Knight Building, also the century-long location of Stall and Dean, into a 25-unit market and subsidized, 1 and 2 bedroom apartment complex.
He said he has high hopes for approval, but there is no guarantee.
“Brockton really needs this, Brockton really wants this,” Korb said. “It’s Brockton’s turn,” he said.
Korb told an audience of more than 50 residents and officials that if the nearly $4 million grant is approved in this round of funding, the company will reapply and try again.
Korb said the money would add to the nearly $4 million already received from state and federal historic grants.
When asked by an audience member what’s in it for him and Capstone, Korb said he has put up much of his own savings—a more than 6-digit figure his wife and family think may be too much--and because of the way the state housing grant is written, he and Capstone are required to maintain and manage the property for at least 15 years.
“There’s a pretty significant stake,” Korb said. “These deals don’t produce cash…the only profit is faith,” he said.
He said the building will be renovated following historical guidelines, including new $1,100 historically accurate windows-and once done will be a beautiful addition to the Montello and Lincoln streets area. Korb said other developments often build projects and then are allowed to sell in 10 years.
He said 14 of the apartments will be rented as workforce units for those making an income between $37,000 and $48,000 per year—or about 35 percent of Brockton’s working residents.
He said he and Capstone receive a fee, according to state guidelines about 10 percent, of the total cost of the project.
Korb said he could flip buildings and houses in Cambridge and other cities and make much more money, but also wants to make a difference where it is needed.
Korb said, it’s a project his heart is in and in a community and location that he believes will have a lasting affect on the neighborhood.
“It’s my passion. When I look myself in the mirror I want to say what I did and this is what I want to do,” Korb said.

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