Tallmadge -- Testa Companies' proposed city center complex near the Circle is moving forward without an affordable senior housing element, after the project was passed over two years in a row for tax credits.

Joel Testa, chief operating officer of Testa Companies, said his Cuyahoga Falls real estate development firm was notified last month that it wasn't awarded the federal senior tax credits that are administered by the state, which were necessary to make the affordable senior housing part of "The Village at Town Center" project at 76 North Ave. work.

"We're always disappointed from a competitive [standpoint] because we felt that it was the right project, and it was a stronger application this year than it was last year," Testa said.

But because the developer already had a back-up plan that didn't include the senior tax credits, he said the retail and residential project is moving closer to development.

"We had already made the decision internally that even if it didn't get awarded, we were going to move forward with it just because of the interest," he said.

The mixed-use development includes a four-story building with retail on the first floor, age-restricted rental apartments for seniors on the second and third floors and market-rate condos that aren't age-restricted on the fourth floor. The development is a town center that also has commercial, medical and professional office components and incorporates the former Tallmadge Middle School, City Hall, police department and banks near the Circle.

Plans for the four-story building will stay the same, but residential piece of the middle floors will change, Testa said. Parties who have looked at the space have been interested in developing it as market-rate apartments, assisted living or some other type of product geared toward seniors.

"We don't have commitments in hand from anybody yet so I'm not sure what will be there, but it will be residential. That is our goal, and we're looking at a couple of different models," he said.

At first, the plan was to develop the residential portion of the complex first and then the medical, but now Testa believes the complex will be developed as a whole rather than in phases.

"We are physically designing for two different groups right now, and we're in negotiations with a third, none of which I'm at liberty to discuss yet, although that will be coming shortly," he said.

Testa hopes to break ground for construction this fall, but each portion of the development would need to be approved by the city before construction can begin, he said.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or hschoenstein@recordpub.com

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