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NeighborWorks Toledo Region plans to construct 40 more prefabricated homes near downtown


Bernie Griswold, Jr., of Clio, Mich., who works for Great Lakes Superior Walls, fastens foundation walls together on Chapin Street. Two houses there are to be finished in about two months. They are to be sold to residents with low to moderate incomes.

The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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From neighborhood blight to new, energy-efficient homes in two months.

That's the goal of NeighborWorks Toledo Region, which launched construction Friday of two new houses on the 300 block of Toledo's Chapin Street.

Construction of the prefabricated houses is expected to be completed by February, said Bill Farnsel, executive director of the nonprofit investment group. The homes will be sold to low-to-moderate income residents through the city's federally funded Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The organization plans to start construction of 40 similar houses in the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center area near downtown in February, said Mr. Farnsel. All of those homes will be completed by Dec. 31, 2013.

“The goal is to get rid of all the houses that are derelict,” said Mr. Farnsel. “And to make the new houses as energy-efficient as possible.”

The effort is part of the City of Toledo's Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which works with local organizations such as NeighborWorks to redevelop neighborhoods that were hit hard by foreclosures.

To spur that development, the city sells properties for $200 apiece. In return, investors agree to sell the newly constructed homes at prices affordable to low-to-moderate income buyers, said B.J. Fischer, director of Strategic Services for FLS Group/Thread Marketing Group. The marketing company represents NeighborWorks.

The properties that NeighborWorks purchased from the city were once the site of dilapidated houses that have already been demolished.

To qualify for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a potential buyer must meet three criteria:

Be within 120 percent of the area median income. For example: $73,800 for a family of four. Complete eight hours of home-buyer counseling from an approved agency. Qualify for a fixed-rate home mortgage with an approved mortgage lender.

Eligible home buyers might also qualify for a grant up to 20 percent of the purchase price to assist with the down payment and closing costs, said Mr. Fischer.

When completed, the new houses at 360 and 364 Chapin will be sold for $55,000 and $65,000, said Mr. Farnsel. The less-expensive, one-story house will have 1,300 square feet, three bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, and a 1 1/2-stall garage. The larger, two-story house will be 1,570 square feet and feature 4 bedrooms, two baths, and a 1 1/2-stall garage.

The prefabricated houses cost about the same as other houses, but can be built more quickly, said Mr. Fischer.

All of the houses will be heated by a hot water system, which provides cheaper, more efficient heat, said Mr. Fischer.

The lumber and concrete used to build the new houses consist of 40 percent recycled material.

Construction workers from Great Lakes Superior Walls on Friday were preparing to install the premade flooring.

For more information about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, contact the city's Department of Neighborhoods at 419-245-1400.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.

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