A local firm is proposing a project that could add under-market value, one-bedroom apartments to the Wilmington area, aimed at filling a need for disabled veterans.
Site plans were submitted Wednesday to the city of Wilmington for the project called Studio 17 Apartments, which consists of a two-building development at 514 S. 17th St., according to the plans.
Matt Scharf, a manager of Mosley Park LLC, the Wilmington firm behind the infill project, said the proposed development would have 24 one-bedroom apartments split between two newly constructed buildings, as well as an additional eight apartments constructed on top of an existing building.
The building currently on the site is a convenience store that would remain in place with the existing tenant, Scharf said. Each building, according to the proposal, would be three stories tall.
The project is focused on "filling a need" in Wilmington for lower-cost one-bedroom apartments, Scharf said.
“In Wilmington, everything that is being built seems to be a high-market value or top-market value, and nobody is really building that middle layer," he said. "It’s not necessarily affordable housing ... but it’s not Class A.”
The firm has owned the property since 2004. Scharf and a small group of people are working on the project, which is being developed with the disabled veteran community in mind, he said, though the apartments would be open to all people.
In the past, his firm, which has managed hundreds of properties in the area, has worked with the disabled veterans who cannot find a place to live.
“There is a waiting list for that and we get calls all the time. Every time we get an availability, that’s who seems to fill it up," he said. "That’s just a group that no one seems to be servicing as far as in the housing department. And so, that’s kind of how this got started.”
Scharf said he anticipates they will be able to house a lot of those veterans, giving them “a nice new, safe place they can be and it’s a one-bedroom," adding that the project is not a government program or part of the Housing Authority.
“There is a huge need for this. And the city has been talking about this and the planning department and there aren’t a lot of people providing this. The reason is that the cost of the land is very high and the cost of the construction is very high," Scharf said. "In this particular case, we’ve got a builder and a planning team and everyone understands what we are trying to do. So, everybody is being cost-conscious on what they can charge … we are certainly for-profit, but we are kind of taking a nonprofit approach.”
The project is still under review and is expected to go before the city's Technical Review Committee in February, he said.
“It’s easy to build something that’s fancy and nice and new and accept the highest amount that you can get on it. But that’s not really helping the community," Scharf said. "There seems to be very big need for what we are building. So we are doing everything we can to keep the price [down] … and so that’s the goal of the project."