Limerock Terrace affordable housing debuts

Developer Ara Kervandjian speaks before the Limerock Terrace ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday.
Developer Ara Kervandjian speaks before the Limerock Terrace ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday. CDT photo

A few years ago, a single home sat on a roomy parcel of land on Limerock Terrace.

The plot is now home to 36 families who live in attractive and affordable townhomes that are a short drive from amenities and major employers.

Developer Ara Kervandjian and local leaders and community members gathered Friday to officially recognize the opening of Limerock Court with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“Workforce housing is a major issue in the Centre Region,” said College Township Manager Adam Brumbaugh, who attended the ceremony. “I think this is an example of the type of thing that can be done when you have an interested developer and an interested municipality that are going to work together ... to make positive contributions like this happen.”

Kervandjian received low-income tax credits to finance the project, and now rents the homes out to families who make 60-, 50- and, in some cases, 20-percent of the area’s median income, he said.

Brian Hudson, executive director and CEO of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, told a crowd gathered at the ceremony that the development is “exactly the model we want to use, not only in the commonwealth, but across the nation.”

A lack of affordable housing remains an issue for the Centre Region, and the problem has been exacerbated in recent years with the closure of three mobile home parks and fires at two affordable apartment buildings in State College and Bellefonte.

“A lot of people talk about affordable housing — Ara and his company put it together,” said state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte. “And partnership between the public and the private is making this happen and giving 36 families the opportunity to have nice housing here in our community. We have a responsibility to do that.”

Kervandjian said families started moving into the development in January. All the units have now been rented, but four families still haven’t moved in. Tours of one vacant apartment were offered Friday, revealing a modern three-bedroom home. There are also two-bedroom units in the complex.

“We are happy to have families here, and they are proud of the project already,” Kervandjian said. “You can see their dedication when they are out on the front stoop clearing and taking care of it. They are putting in that (effort).”

Brumbaugh said he hopes its the start of more workforce housing developments in the region.

“It serves a major need and, unfortunately, there is need for more,” he said. “I’m hopeful over time not only will there be more development in College Township, but throughout the Centre Region.”

Kervandjian is planning workforce housing developments in Bellefonte.

Benninghoff said Friday he believes there are misconceptions about the types of people who benefit from such development.

“We are talking about the teacher down the street,” he said. “We are talking about the medical lab assistant at the hospital, about police officers. ... These are people who are hard-working people who want to be, who are, contributing, who want the American dream of having a nice home. This set up allows them to do that. It’s a proud place to live.”