Construction of the 48-unit Applegate Landing Apartments is on schedule and the complex is expected to begin accepting residents in August.
The apartments are located north of Airport Road near the intersection with Stoltz Hill Road. As part of the project, a traffic light is being installed at that intersection.
“I wouldn’t say we’re ahead of schedule. We’re on track to be done in August,” said James Lutz, the owner of Applegate Landing.
The project will provide low-income housing with the primary goal being to provide housing for veterans. Twelve of the units are set aside specifically for veterans, but there is a preference for veterans in the application process and the hope is that all of the units will ultimately be leased to veterans and their families.
“I don’t think we’ll have an issue filling it with veterans,” Lutz said.
Lutz is the great-grandson of Edward C. Allworth, for whom the Lebanon veterans’ home is named. That connection definitely inspired Lutz’ interest in creating affordable housing for those who have served.
“My whole family is full of veterans, my two sons are veterans,” Lutz said.
It was another veteran, Lebanon resident KJ Ullfers, who initially got the ball rolling on this project. He is the founder of Crossroads Communities, a non-profit organization which provides services for veterans who are struggling to reintegrate into civilian life. Ullfers dreamed of creating a place which could provide housing and services in one location.
As he shared his vision with community leaders, Ullfers said Lebanon Mayor Paul Aziz was quick to come on board.
“This goes back to one person: Paul Aziz. Paul knew what he (James) was doing, he knew what I was doing, and he said ‘why the hell aren’t you two talking to each other?’ That’s what brought it together,” Ullfers said. “Not saying it was easy at that point, but we started seeing motion almost immediately when we came together.”
The four 12-unit apartment buildings and the community center which are currently under construction are at the north end of the 8.3-acre site. These units take up about three acres and a small creek which winds its way through the site limits their options on the eastern edge of the property.
That certainly leaves more than another room for a second phase, but Ullfers said it is too early to know if that will be possible.
“We don’t know yet, for sure. Nothing’s written in stone beyond this right here,” Ullfers said.
The complex includes six studio apartments of 540 square feet, and six three-bedroom apartments which are just over 1,100 square feet. The 18 one-bedroom units are 724 square feet and the 18 two-bedroom units are 824 square feet.
Every unit has its own patio and outside storage area. The will also be approximately 80 parking spaces, based on 1.7 spaces for unit.
Lutz said monthly payments will be based on income and family size. The studios will begin at around $300 for those in the lowest income range. The two-bedroom units will rent for about $850 for those in the upper range of the income scale.
This is considerably lower than the prevailing rental prices in Lebanon, which easily top $1,000 a month for two-bedroom units and approach $1,500 a month for three-bedroom units.
Ullfers said the Applegate Landing project received $9 million in low income housing tax credits, which helped make the project possible.
The community building includes the expected amenities, such as a workout room, a recreation room and a laundry room. But it also includes space for basic medical and dental exams as well as a room for counseling sessions.
“We coordinate through about 22 different partners to provide services on site, so our clients don’t have to go out to Corvallis, out to Albany, or what have you. Those services come here. That’s how we came up with the name Crossroads, everything crosses over right here,” Ullfers said.
The partner agencies will also offer classes such as financial literacy and job skills.
Ullfers is proud of both the services that will be available and the quality of the apartments themselves. He wants the community to know that these units are being built to last.
Lutz said the construction is being completed to meet Earth Advantage certification standards.
“We’re shooting for silver, but I really believe we’ll be able to achieve gold. No OSB (oriented strand board), it’s real plywood, real lumber,” Lutz said.
Solar panels will be installed on the community center and one of the apartment units. Lutz said there is still hope that solar can be installed on all five buildings, if the budget allows for that.
“It looks like we’re on budget, on track, if nothing else comes up in these last few weeks,” Lutz said.
Both Lutz and Ullfers confirmed that the goal is to build more of these projects in other communities. There is no question that there is a need for low-income housing and especially more housing for veterans.
“The entire idea we came up with is that this is a beta site. Our idea was to put it all together and then we can take this to any other community and use the same exact model. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Ullfers said. “We tend to look at smaller communities because that is where people are horribly underserved. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it at the end of the day.”