by Terry Rogers
Construction is almost complete on the first of the Milford “Strong Neighborhood” houses, with construction on eight more to begin in the Spring of 2019. Proposed by Milford Housing Development Corporation, with Dan Bond and John DiTomasso in private partnership and with the cooperation of the City of Milford, the project was submitted to the Delaware State Housing Authority in late 2016 and was awarded a grant in the amount of $500,000 to aid in the construction of new homes in the Fourth Ward.
“This project was designed to provide much needed moderate income housing in downtown Milford,” Bond said. “The first of these homes, constructed on a vacant lot at 21 Northwest Front Street is nearing completion. Recently, the City of Milford Board of Adjustment approved the site plan for the next project, eight townhouses along the north side of 200 block of Northwest Front Street.”
According to Bond, the new townhomes will be two and three stories with two to four bedrooms. They will be designed to fit in with the 19th century style of that is typical along Milford’s oldest street.
“Located in the block between Christ Church and Avenue United Methodist Church, this small ‘infill’ development should greatly enhance this historic downtown neighborhood,” Bond said. “Construction is expected to begin in early 2019 on a project site that currently consists of both vacant lots and lots with buildings on them. There was a row of three buildings on the southeast section of the block that were condemned and torn down a few years ago. This portion of the block is currently vacant. The buildings currently on the lots at 209 and 211 Northwest Front Street are currently used as residential rentals and will be torn down as they are in poor condition.”
DiTomasso has purchased three historic houses in the same block, all of which he is planning to restore, according to Bond. Construction financing is being provided by NCALL, a Community Development Financial Institution. The Strong Neighborhood grant may be used for construction financing, but the grant funding eventually goes to the buyers of the homes. In order to qualify, buyers should have a family income of no more than 120 percent of the average median income for Kent County, or around $75,000 for a family of four. Each buyer receives $50,000 to help finance the new home purchase which will not require repayment as long as the family lives in the home for ten years.
“In addition, due to the fact that the homes are all in Milford’s Downtown Development District, the City’s transfer tax is waived and the buyer receives an abatement on City real estate taxes for five years,” Bond said. “The first Strong Neighborhood house, located at 21 Northwest Second Street, will be available for sale in October. The townhouses at 200Front will likely start going on sale in late 2019.”