Wilmington leaders celebrate start of work on H. Fletcher Brown apartments [video]

After a difficult fight, work will soon begin to transform the H. Fletcher Brown mansion into apartments for low income seniors in Wilmington.

Rain forced the groundbreaking ceremony inside, but that didn’t dampen the celebration of the start of work on 35 new affordable housing units for low income residents.

The battle over turning the mansion into apartments went all the way to the Delaware Supreme Court with nearby residents opposing the plan.

“Little did we know when we started this project that we would end up at the Supreme Court,” said Ingleside CEO Larry Cessna. “Developing the mansion into housing for seniors was a good goal and was a good path to expand Ingleside’s mission.”

The mansion once belonged to DuPont engineer and philanthropist H. Fletcher Brown and had been used as corporate offices for Ingleside Homes from 1971 until 2008. The building is adjacent to Ingleside’s 208-unit high rise building.

“For me, this is a special day not only because it represents perseverance, but it also represents our collective community,” said U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D- Delaware. “To see so many partners come together through so many years and to be able to accomplish such a great thing.”

The Delaware State Housing Authority provided a $1.9 million loan from the state’s Housing Development Fund, in addition to low income housing tax credits to help finance the project. “We are pleased to help Ingleside meet the need for affordable senior housing in Delaware,” said Anas Ben Addi, director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. “Many senior renters face cost burdens, making affordable housing opportunities such as this all the more important.”

The 10,000 sq. ft. home was built in 1917 and is listed on the National Historical Register. The $12 million project is expected to take 18 months to complete. The first residents should move in by 2019.

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