Site work begins on $14M affordable housing development in Robeson Township

Brian Pedersen//November 30, 2016

Site work begins on $14M affordable housing development in Robeson Township

Brian Pedersen//November 30, 2016

To meet this need, Housing Development Corp. MidAtlantic of Lancaster is embarking on site work for a $14 million project to build an affordable housing project at 190 Spring Grove Court in Robeson Township.

HDC MidAtlantic, a nonprofit, selected Schlouch Inc. of Blandon to start site work for the project known as River Run Meadows Apartments. It includes six buildings, providing 58 units for affordable housing tenants, a community building and a multipurpose athletic court, said Ian Rawhauser, senior development officer of HDC MidAtlantic.

Benchmark Construction of Brownstown is the general contractor, and Architectural Concepts of Exton is the architect, he said.

Total project cost is $14.1 million, with $8.2 million for construction, Rawhauser said.

Site work is underway, with construction expected to start in early spring, followed by one or two buildings possibly opening as early as September, he said. The entire project should be finished in December.

The athletic court will be slightly larger than a half-court basketball court and can be used for basketball, tennis, badminton and other activities.

“I think this is a feature the residents are really going to enjoy,” Rawhauser said.

While the firm has a large presence in Berks County, it found a need for more affordable housing in the rural parts of the county.

After research, the firm discovered there had not been an affordable housing project built in more than a decade in the rural areas of Berks, Rawhauser said.

“We saw there was a need there; it makes sense to continue to add to it,” he said.

Through a market study performed on the area, the firm found many households and families are “rental-burdened,” or paying more than 30 percent of their income toward rent and utilities, he added.

The land initially was tapped as a site to build for-sale townhouses but that plan got scrapped as the recession hit.

Plans are in place to preserve the surrounding environment; about 50 acres of the property abuts the Schuylkill River Trail, Rawhauser said.

About half of the 50 acres of the property is considered undevelopable, he said.

HDC MidAtlantic is negotiating with Natural Lands Trust, a conservation organization, and hopes to sell a subdivided parcel of that land to the organization so that it can be preserved, according to Rawhauser.