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Nearly 60 C. Bruce Rose Plaza residents will be relocated over the next couple of months after officials discovered structural issues with the 40-year-old public housing building where senior adults, some with disabilities, live.
Wilson Housing Authority President and CEO Kelly Vick said officials didn’t anticipate what they found when starting a capital improvement project to replace windows and siding.
“We had a lot of water intrusion between the brick and interior walls that had been undiscovered,” Vick said.
Architects and engineers were brought in to discuss options.
“We realized there was much more work needed,” Vick said.
While the building is salvageable, officials say it could cost $6 million to $7 million to rehabilitate the five-story building.
Vick said the housing authority held two meetings with residents to discuss the building’s needs and the tenants’ relocation.
“We reassured them that once the rehab was done, they could return or stay at the units we are relocating them to now,” Vick said. Officials said they’ve already relocated several residents and are working to have all of them out by March.
Vick said the agency is utilizing other public housing units and working with Section 8 voucher landlords to find suitable homes.
The Wilson Housing Authority has also hired a moving company. Vick said residents will be helped with boxing up their belongings, and officials will pay all relocation costs. “We are covering costs so that residents won’t be burdened by any financial issues with this move,” Vick said, adding that the financial assistance will include any new service fees for utilities. “We are doing everything we can to accommodate their needs.”
The Wilson Housing Authority is working on funding the multi-million-dollar project through the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, which administers federal tax credits that are strictly for construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing. Vick said the agency is in the process of filing a funding application. Officials should know by August if the project has been funded.
“Then we would expect construction to take 12 months after that,” Vick said, adding that it could be between 18 to 24 months from now until the project is completed.
Vick said in the past five years, the housing authority made several capital improvements to C. Bruce Rose Plaza, including a new elevator and heating and cooling systems.
The large-scale rehabilitation will include taking down all the brick and re-bricking the building. New plumbing, interior finishings, siding, electrical upgrades and a new roof are also part of the project. Officials also plan to make the building more energy-efficient.
“There have been so many advancements in the last 40 years with construction design and energy efficiency,” Vick said. “We plan to incorporate all the newest practices in this rehabilitation that we are doing.”
Vick said when architects and engineers assessed the C. Bruce Rose Plaza, they told him that the building has strong bones.
“The structure is good,” he said. “And it’s better to rehab what we’ve got.”