Penquis is looking to build a 35-unit affordable housing complex on more than 2.5 acres of land behind shops at the corner of Grandview and Hillside avenues, near the high school and Broadway Hannaford.

The Bangor nonprofit organization has still not designed the housing complex, secured any funding for its construction or received any city zoning permits, but early plans call for a mix of one-, two- or three-bedroom apartments that target seniors and low- to moderate-income professionals, Penquis housing development director Jason Bird said Monday.

“Affordable housing is necessary and in demand in Bangor,” Bird said, citing a waiting list of more than 1,000 people looking to secure affordable housing through the nonprofit. “People deserve to live in quality housing, regardless of their income.”

Following a unanimous City Council vote Monday, the Bangor nonprofit entered into a $14,000 option and development agreement with the city for a portion of a 0.6 acre plot of land — meaning the land sale only would be executed if the proposed development comes to fruition. That city-owned land would provide access to an adjacent 2.5-acre parcel owned by Broadway Shopping Center LLC, where the housing development would be constructed, Bird said.

Penquis entered into a separate option and development agreement for an undisclosed amount with the Broadway Shopping Center LLC for the land where the development will be built. Bangor sold the remaining portion of the 0.6 acres of city-owned land to Bernie LeBree, who owns a small retail building abutting the land.

Bird said Penquis will seek site plan approval from the city’s planning board in the coming months and apply for federal, state and local grant funding opportunities for the project that could cost between $5 million and $6 million to complete. Next January, Bird said the organization will apply for funding through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program that is administered through the Maine State Housing Authority. If approved, he expects funding would total over $1 million.

He hopes the project will break ground in the summer or fall of 2018 and be ready for occupancy a year later. If the land has wetland restrictions limiting the scope of the project, Bird said they may opt to build senior housing on the site instead.
Designs for the proposed complex are not completed, and Bird was unable to immediately provide a breakdown of how many of the 35 proposed units would be one, two or three bedrooms. But he said rental prices targeting families earning between 40 and 60 percent of the area median income, which are typically a mix of larger families, seniors, low-wage workers and employees of the service sector such as firemen, firefighters and teachers.