The wheels are turning in the effort to transform a large vacant property in central Hannibal that is widely considered an eyesore and a hazard.

The wheels are turning in the effort to transform a large vacant property in central Hannibal that is widely considered an eyesore and a hazard.

The latest

A public hearing was held Tuesday, Sept. 5 prior to the Hannibal City Council meeting to discuss the rezoning of the former St. Elizabeth Hospital property, located at 109 Virginia St. Hannibal Department of Public Works Superintendent Brian Chaplin presented the rezoning, with comments from Bob Long, managing partner at Hill Tide Partners also explained to the council more about the project and why a rezoning is necessary. No one from the public spoke at the public hearing.

What’s next

The city council heard a first reading of a bill rezoning the property from C-Local Business to B-Multiple Family. The council did not discuss the rezoning at great length. The bill rezoning the property will come up for a second reading at the council’s Sept. 19 meeting. If the rezoning goes through, developers will apply for tax credits by Dec. 1, with a tax credit award date of May 1, 2018. A tentative completion date for the project is Dec. 1, 2019.

Why a rezoning is necessary

Hill Tide Partners and Belmont Development Group, which are working together on the St. Elizabeth project, intend to use tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) to help fund the project, which would require extensive renovation of the derelict property and the demolition of the interior tower added in the 1960s. According to Bob Long, Hill Tide Managing Partner, the MHDC is opposed to a “mixed-use” concept currently allowed under the C-Local Business zoning. A residential-only zoning, according to Long, would greatly improve the chances that the MHDC would award tax credits to the project. Tax credits have been sought in prior project to refurbish the massive structure, but the MHDC did not award them. “This (rezoning) is about removing roadblocks to speed up the process,” Long told the council.

More details about the plan

The plans to renovate the property include creating 55 units for senior housing, including both one- and two-bedroom units. Rent would range from $400 per month for qualifying seniors up to $604 per month for market rate units. Most of the 55 units would be geared towards seniors who earn 50 to 60 percent of median income. Additional plans call for a common room/meeting area that would include a kitchen, a library/media area, an exercise room, outdoor gazebo and garden, and an office space. Developers have said their main goal is to preserve the historical quality of the property, keeping it as an icon of the community while providing useful residential needs.

Reach editor Eric Dundon at eric.dundon@courierpost.com