Wednesday, July 02, 2014
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Officials celebrate completion of 'Plowfield Square'
West side residential development fills rental niche

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[July 02, 2014]  LINCOLN - Tuesday morning, Richard Sciortino of Brinshore Development welcomed several attendees to the official opening of Plowfield Square, a 40-unit housing complex located just south of Castle Manor.

It has been almost one full year since Sciortino hosted a similar meeting for the groundbreaking of the development. On July 12th of last year, a similar group of civic and community leaders were on hand and several donned shovels to turn the first soil on the property.

This week as Sciortino welcomed the group, he remembered his first contact with Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder. He said that often he starts his campaign to bring a new development to the community by sending an email to the mayor of a particular city. He explained that many has been the time that the mayor has not replied to the email, or they forwarded on to someone else who did reply.

He said when he sent an email to Snyder; he received a response almost immediately, and it was an invitation to come to Lincoln and sit down and talk about a possible project. Sciortino said throughout the process Snyder had been proactive in helping bring the project to Lincoln. He noted in his early meetings with Snyder, the mayor helped point out areas where the complex could be built, and was also the one who introduced Brinshore to local land owner Doug Muck.

He introduced Snyder prefacing, “It is really because of the mayor that this all happened, and we appreciate your support.’

When Snyder took the podium, he acknowledged members of the city council who supported the project including several present: alderwomen Marty Neitzel and Jonie Tibbs and alderman Jeff Hoinacki. Also in attendance and acknowledged by Snyder were John Lebegue and his staff of the Building and Safety office and Chief Mark Miller of the Lincoln Fire Department.

Mayor Snyder indicated he was pleased with what he saw in Plowfield Square. He related a story of driving his youngest daughter around the complex and she, who is seldom impressed, was certainly impressed with the look of the new apartment buildings and grounds.

Snyder noted an article he’d recently read by Richard Florida on the From the Atlantic CityLab website [] . He said the jest of the article was that since the housing crisis, more Americans are turning to rental homes over buying. The article said the number of renter households increased by more than half a million in 2013. He read the following excerpt from the article. “This huge growth in the renting population means that, in the coming years, America’s housing crisis will have less to do with foreclosures and underwater homes and more to do with rental housing as the supply of these units is falling far behind growing demand. The fact is that, even as more and more Americans want to rent; the market just hasn’t kept up.”

Snyder concluded saying that he was pleased to see the new housing option in Lincoln and was happy that the community is making an effort to keep up with the demand mentioned in Florida’s article.

Sciortino said the 40-unit complex is filled, and there is a waiting list large enough to fill it again. He said he would love the opportunity to someday grow the complex and provide more affordable housing for the community.

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Sciortino acknowledged the lenders who were involved in the project including the Illinois Housing Development Authority and U.S. Bank.

Cheryl Wilson of U.S. Bank was the next person to take the podium. She spoke about working well with Brinshore for the past 20 years. She noted how nice the complex looks today and told the group that this would always be the case. She noted her experience with Brinshore shows that complexes that are 10 and 20 years old are still just as lovely and vibrant as this new complex.

Sciortino began wrapping up the formal part of the day by issuing thank-you's to his staff and those who assisted in filling the units including Community Action and the Department of Human Services. He expressed appreciation to the contractors and architects, the Brinshore property managers and leasing agents.

He ended saying, “To all those people who relied on us and supported us, I want to say that it is our mission as developers of affordable housing to have this look as good 10 years from now, 15 years from now, as it does today. So it is my commitment to the mayor, all the elected officials, and to our investors and my staff, that this property will look as good 10 years from now as it does today. And, I hope that all the people who live here will enjoy it while they are here, and are proud of it.”

Sciortino and Snyder then shared in the duty of cutting the ribbon on the new development, with Lincoln/Logan Chamber of Commerce director Andi Hake and the chamber ambassadors joining in.

There were three apartments open for tour along with the community center. Everyone was invited to tour each of the four locations and end their visit by enjoying a meal catered by Guzzardo’s.

The apartment buildings are currently all full with a waiting list. Of the 40 units, 25 percent are occupied by residents with disabilities. Sciortino said the rent was determined based on market studies of what the local economy could bear. Discount rates were given to those with disabilities who can rent a one bedroom home for as little as $290 per month. Rents, based on one-, two-, or three-bedroom dwellings range from $290 to $575.00 per month



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