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800 blockA once-blighted block of homes near downtown Fort Wayne is now a source of pride. Four homes have been completely rehabbed or demolished and rebuilt as part of a partnership between the City of Fort Wayne, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the West Central Neighborhood Association, and local developer Belay Corporation.

The homes at 815 and 817 W. Washington Blvd. were deteriorated too badly to rehabilitate so the Historic Preservation Commission approved them for demolition; the Commission also approved the plans for new construction. The homes at 823 and 825 W. Washington Blvd. were rehabilitated; 825 was completed in February 2012 and the others were completed in May 2013. Construction was completed by Preston Allen Homes. The City's Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services chose the West Washington corridor for development because of its relatively high traffic volume, high visibility and its proximity to other important economic development initiatives going on downtown.

The City has worked in partnership with Fort Wayne-based Belay Corporation over the last few years to purchase the four adjacent, dilapidated properties on West Washington. The houses, which were previously owned by the City or Allen County, are located within the historic West Central Neighborhood. The neighborhood has been an integral part of the planning and revitalization, ensuring that the homes contribute to the overall character and history of the area.

Most of the funding for this initiative came from HUD's HOME Investment Partnerships Program dollars directed to the City of Fort Wayne, with the remaining funds coming from Belay Corporation's construction line of credit. The federal funding will cover the difference between the cost to develop the homes and fair market value. The money that comes back into the program through the sale of the homes will be used for future projects to provide safe, decent, affordable housing and improve local housing stock.

Improvements and repairs to the structures included new roofs, new heating and cooling systems, restored exteriors, restored hardwood floors, updated mechanical systems and updated kitchens and baths. The rehabilitated homes and newly constructed homes conform to the federal and local historic district standards.