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Economic conditions had delayed the tenant application process for units

Though construction on the resurrected Fairbanks Flats was finished by last October, the company spearheading the redevelopment project experienced some setbacks that caused delays in the tenant application process.

Madison-based developer Gorman and Company had plans for move-in to begin Oct. 1, 2008, but economic conditions caused a delay in populating the long-awaited redeveloped units.

Because banks were shying away from investments in the capital market, the company had troubles finding an investor willing to purchase the federal historic credits, said Chris Laurent, senior development manager for Gorman and Company. Those credits were needed to put the capital into the development.

It took awhile, but Bank of America eventually bought the historic credits. Alliant Capital bought the housing credits. With that, the company could move forward with the tenant application process, Laurent said. Unfortunately, the waiting time meant people who were interested in renting a unit ended up going elsewhere.

But Gorman and Company is now accepting applications for the 13 low-income units and three market value units, located on 205 and 215 Birch Ave. and 206 and 216 Carpenter St. in Beloit.

“The property shows well,” Laurent said. “It’s in great shape. It’s in a great location with beautiful views of the Rock River.”

Laurent encourages people to come through and view the units. An open house and ribbon cutting is tentatively scheduled for June 20, said Fairbanks Flats Revitalization Group President Francis Vance. The group hopes to have a historical marker placed on the site by that time.

“The Fairbanks Flats Revitalization Group is looking forward to the ribbon cutting ceremony hopefully in June, and we’re going to be working toward that goal of getting a historical marker,” Vance said.

The Fairbanks Flats were built somewhere between 1917 and 1920 when Fairbanks Morse recruited African Americans from the South to replace the workers who had gone to serve in World War II. The city acquired the dilapidated buildings in 1999, and they are on the National and Wisconsin Registers of Historic Places.