Mike Price/Fairfield Photography

The former Pierson Hills development had gone nearly 50 years with any major investments and was on the brink of closing. Families were leaving because of the property’s poor condition, and it was in bad standing with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The problems were mounting when Wallick-Hendy Development Co. stepped in to rescue the Peoria, Illinois, development. Built in the 1970s, the property had been struggling for a while and required a developer with an innovative strategy as well as perseverance. “Wallick just said we’re going to find a way to do this, and we’re going to make it right,” says Alexis Dunfee, vice president of development.

The effort included bringing together multiple organizations and stakeholders. The team worked closely with the city and HUD, which resulted in an approval of assumption and partial paydown on a flexible subsidy note, Mark-up-to-Market for increased rents, HUD reserves transferred as a construction source, and a new 20-year Housing Assistance Payment contract for all the homes.

Mike Price/Fairfield Photography

The team managed to leverage nearly $20 million to restore the original roofs, plumbing, and electrical system. Other improvements include installing new windows, kitchen cabinets, appliances, and carpet. The property has its own community building for the first time.

Renamed Parkwood Commons, the 100-unit property consists of 50 buildings with two- to five-bedroom units. Sixty-four units have three or more bedrooms, which fills the needs of larger families. Twenty percent of the homes are handicap accessible or adaptable. For struggling families with multiple children, the large units with rent subsidies is life changing, according to Dunfee.

Parkwood Commons has gone from being about half vacant to a waiting list of 500.

Financing for the $19.4 million project includes 4% low-income housing tax credits and bonds. Parkwood also received HOME funds from the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the city.