Kearney Ridge Groundbreaking
This past spring, local developers broke ground on the new Kearney Ridge apartment complex, which is among some of the newest affordable housing units going up in Lexington. As we move into the fall, progress is coming along nicely, folks are already applying for housing, and units should be ready for leasing come next spring.
Kearney Ridge is the largest development ever completed by AU Associates, who has lots of experience using both private and public investments to develop affordable housing units throughout Kentucky. Rick McQuady, the Affordable Housing Manager for the city of Lexington, notes that this is a strong partnership between AU Associates and the city of Lexington working together.
Construction on units like Kearney Ridge means a lot for the Lexington community, which is struggling with a need for affordable housing that lately far exceeds availability. Kearney Ridge includes 252 new units and is located near a bus stop, shopping, banks, medical facilities—everything that working families who need a place to live might need access to.
And though Kearney Ridge is the largest project of this kind being built in Lexington right now, it’s certainly not the only one. Over 800 new affordable housing units are going up in various locations throughout the city right now. Rick says that this is the first time this many affordable units have been under construction that he can remember. The need has exploded, making the work his office is doing more important than ever, he says, even as the challenges to meet that need are also increasing. “The need has always been there,” he says, “but it’s greater now.” Rent is increasing everywhere, interest rates are rising, and even costs of materials and labor are going up.
Rick reminds us that although “affordable housing sometimes has a bad connotation, in a lot of ways it’s workforce housing.” Families have jobs in Lexington, he says, working at Amazon, hospitals, the University of Kentucky, restaurants and more —“there’s a lot of people out there working that need a quality affordable place to live.”
Kearney Ridge, as well as the vast majority of the units currently under construction, are designed for households with incomes at or below 60% of the area annual median income. In Lexington right now, that’s $36,240 for a two-person household.
Rick also notes that almost a third of the affordable housing units his office has funded lately have gone to help house individuals with special needs, individuals affected by domestic violence, and the elderly. “Affordable housing for the elderly is a huge need in Lexington,” he says – “we have funded hundreds of units for this population, and they fill up immediately.”
“We really are working to serve all the populations that need affordable housing,” in the community Rick says, and “that’s not going to happen overnight, if you do it the right way.” When it comes to affordable housing, Rick says, “there’s always challenges, and there’s always more to do, but I feel very strongly that we’re working to meet those challenges.”
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