Carlisle Townhomes groundbreaking

From left, Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott, PIRHL Project Manager Michael Bier and J. P. Morgan Chase representative Chet Shedloski participate in Monday's groundbreaking for Carlisle Townhomes at College and C streets.

Tammie Gitt, The Sentinel

A small crowd gathered Monday in what will be an extension of C Street in Carlisle for the groundbreaking of the first project at the former site of Carlisle Tire & Wheel.

“Today represents the start of construction of a new housing development, a significant milestone in the revitalization of this former industrial site, but today also represents the conclusion of a long and arduous pre-development stage of this project,” said Michael Bier, project manager with PIRHL Developers of Cleveland, Ohio.

PIRHL secured an agreement to purchase the former site of Carlisle Tire & Wheel in the fall of 2015, and partnered with the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities to develop the plan that will bring 40 townhomes, 12 flat apartments, a 2,000-square-foot community building and a two-acre park to the site. The plan also will extend B and C streets through the site as well as address stormwater issues.

Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.

A future phase of the project will add veteran housing and commercial space.

“This is a new beginning for Carlisle. It’s a new beginning for this neighborhood,” said Tim Whelan, executive director of Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, who hosted the event.

In March 2016, the partnership secured $1.1-million of 10-year housing tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency that were leveraged into almost $13 million of equity for the project. In addition, the Redevelopment Authority is providing a $550,000 loan, and JP Morgan Chase an $8-million construction loan and a $1.7-million permanent loan.

The apartments, designed by Fukui Architects of Pittsburgh and RDL Architects of Cleveland, will be reserved for families with household incomes below 60 percent of the Cumberland County area median income. Rents are expected to range from approximately $600 to approximately $900 a month.

“Carlisle was very connected to the Tire & Wheel factory that stood on this site for more than 100 years,” Bier said. “We acknowledge that this new development is a large departure from what was here, but we hope that what you see rise from this ground, and the people that reside in these buildings, will become intimately connected with this community, too.”

The groundbreaking included representatives not only from PIRHL and the redevelopment authority, but also from local and state government agencies.

“One of the things that made me so anxious to get involved with this was the fact that this is going to co-mingle veterans in with disabled people and workforce housing,” Sen. Mike Regan said. “Wouldn’t it be great to imagine our veterans mentoring kids that come from this workforce housing?”

Mayor Tim Scott recalled the history of the site, where 340 employees were given the news that their jobs were being phased out eight years ago in July 2009. Those jobs were relocated to Jackson, Tennessee, over the following 12-18 months.

“Closing that chapter of Carlisle’s history book has been difficult for many, but we stand here today, looking forward toward the future, a new chapter for our community,” Scott said.

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