Aurora City Council on Tuesday night approved a housing development for low-income seniors on the land where the Jericho Circle housing complex once stood.

The new Fourteen Forty Nine Senior Estates subdivision will have 70 units – 50 of them in 25 one-story duplexes and the remaining 20 in single-story single-family residences – a clubhouse, on-site management offices, a multimedia centre, a fitness club, pickleball courts and an outdoor community area.

Active development for seniors will be limited to residents age 62 or older, with qualifying income of $15,000 to $45,000 per year.

Aldermen this week approved a preliminary plan and flat for development, as well as rezoning, for more than 12 acres at 1449 Jericho Road in the far west.

The property, behind the Aurora Housing Authority offices, housed the Jericho Circle housing complex for many years. About 10 years ago, the development was demolished and was long considered a public housing failure by many Aurorans.

This is still the case for Rick Lawrence, a former councilman who was a member of the city council when Jericho Circle was demolished. He has consistently criticized the development of 1449 Jericho Road and told city council again this week that he was skeptical of it, despite the fact that council was close to unanimously approving it.

He opposed the development partly because he thinks the location is bad and partly because he doesn’t trust the development team.

“Are they scammers? ” he said. “I guess we’ll find out.”

Seniors housing would be developed by a group including the Aurora Housing Authority, Northern Lights Development Corp. – which is a not-for-profit arm of the housing authority – and a limited partnership of investors.

The partnership is investing $23 million in private funds raised from Bank of America, the National Equity Fund and the IFF, officials said. The latter two are non-profit companies specializing in investing in public and neighborhood projects.

The Aurora Housing Authority donates the land and promotes development. Once built, the development will be managed by a private management company on site.

Northern Lights is a general partner member and sponsor of the project.

The partnership of investors will own the property once built, as they invest the $23 million raised.

Developers said the project is dependent on a 30-year agreement which states the property must be senior housing for at least that long. As part of the capitalization of the project, $600,000 will be set aside for maintenance, to ensure the property is maintained, the developers said.

The same partnership developing the property completed a similar senior development in Joliet called Liberty Landing, on land donated by the Joliet Housing Authority. City officials, including some aldermen, said they toured the Joliet development and were impressed.

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