HAND acquires rental community in Boone County

Noblesville-based HAND Inc. is investing more than $2 million to acquire and renovate 17 duplexes in Lebanon, Indiana, which it will maintain as affordable apartments for low-income residents.

Now called Hickory Commons, the rental community includes a total of 33 leasable units on two cul-de-sacs: Lafayette Court and Cedars Court. Property manager Mark III will have an office in the remaining unit, which also will include a community room open to all residents.

The acquisition is 15-year-old HAND’s first project outside of Hamilton County.

“Our mission is to provide housing and neighborhood development, and we don’t want to limit ourselves to one geographic area,” said HAND Executive Director Jennifer Miller. “Every community needs housing options, and we are well-positioned to help.”

Funders for the Lebanon project include the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, which provided $1 million from the federal HOME program and $500,000 from the state Community Development Block Grant program. The balance came from Lake City Bank as a private loan.

The Hickory Commons duplexes were built in the 1950s and require renovations and updating. Renovations are expected to take about a year, but current residents will not be displaced. HAND has contracted with 7-3 Development Corp. to handle the work.

HAND is committed to keeping rents at 28 of the 33 units below the limits set annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Five apartments will have market-rate rents.

Founded in 2003 as Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development Inc., HAND has invested more than $19 million in housing. It has built four apartment communities with a total of 82 units for seniors in Noblesville, Cicero and Sheridan, and renovated three historic buildings in downtown Noblesville to create 14 one-bedroom apartments that are not age restricted.

On June 14, HAND will host a ribbon cutting at Home Place Gardens, its new rental community in Carmel. That development includes eight 1- and 2-bedroom apartments for seniors and two 3-bedroom single-family homes for survivors of violence. (Click here to sign up for a June 1 volunteer day on the property.)

Researchers have found that demand for affordable housing in Hamilton County exceeds supply by more than 10,000 units—a gap that will take more than 100 years to fill at the current pace of construction, assuming the need doesn’t increase as the county’s population grows.

Hamilton and Boone counties are two of the fastest-growing areas in the state. But housing costs have increased along with their populations, leaving behind many seniors, early-career professionals and service workers. HAND’s mission is to be a leader in promoting prosperity and diversity in our communities by providing quality housing opportunities.