Morton Estates being developed
Morton Estates is more than a new independent living community for adults age 55 and older that is being developed in a residential neighborhood.
It’s replacing an eyesore building that frustrated the village, neighbors and former property owner for many of the seven years it sat vacant.
“We (village officials) were close to taking action,” said Roger Spangler, Morton’s planning and zoning officer. “The building was almost beyond disrepair to being a nuisance. Some thought it was there. Or beyond.”
The not-for-profit Apostolic Christian Restmor nursing home, owned and operated by the Apostolic Christian Church of Morton since 1978, was at the site at 935 E. Jefferson St. until the nursing home moved in 2008 to a new facility at 1500 Parkside Ave.
Even though the Apostolic Church hadn’t owned the East Jefferson Street building for years, Spangler said, church officials were still getting calls and letters asking when something was going to happen with the property.
Cincinnati-based Miller-Valentine Group closed in June on a purchase of the site and is developing Morton Estates, which will have 61 one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Renovation began in July and is expected to continue for 14 to 15 months at a cost of more than $12 million. The building’s size and height will remain the same.
Spangler and Village Board Trustee Randy Belsley, the village’s liaison to the Morton Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, couldn’t be happier about the development.
“A negative has been turned into a positive,” Spangler said. “Morton Estates will be great for the neighborhood and create jobs.”
Belsley said neighbors in the single-family neighborhood located on one of the village’s major thoroughfares are pleased the building will have a compatible use, and he’s certain Morton’s business community will benefit from the additional village residents.
“Plus, Morton Estates will offer housing options we don’t have right now in Morton,” he said.
Pete Schwiegeraht, a senior developer with Miller-Valentine Residential Development, said much of the funding for the renovation — about $8 million to $9 million — will come from the Illinois Housing Development Authority through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.
The funding has stipulations. Morton Estates residents must have a household income that’s under 60 percent of the adjusted median income in Tazewell County, and a formula will determine rental rates so they are affordable.
Schwiegeraht said he expects about 85 percent of those 55 and older who are interested in renting an apartment at Morton Estates will meet the income criteria and about 40 percent will move out of their current homes, making the residences available for younger families.
People with felony and domestic violence convictions won’t be able to rent an apartment, Schwiegeraht said.
Even though Morton Estates residents are expected to live independently, services will be offered. They include meals, transportation, light housekeeping and health care referrals.
Each apartment will have a laundry room and kitchen and an open floor plan. The complex will be 100 percent accessible, Schwiegeraht said, and energy-efficient.
There also will be on-site management, a community room, business center with computer work stations and outdoor recreation areas. Supportive and veterans services will be available.
Residents will benefit from another perk starting next year. The facility is on the Morton Pumpkin Festival parade route.
Leasing professional David Perkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.