Take almost any road in the Salt Lake Valley and you'll likely pass a subdivision with bright, shiny new houses just waiting for an owner.
And along the way you're sure to pass occupied homes with "For Sale" signs on the front lawn.These two housing possibilities are fine for those who can afford them, but what about those who have only enough money to afford a small apartment?
There always seems to be a shortage of housing for low income families, but it can't be blamed on PSC Development Co., which has been renovating several old apartment buildings in the Salt Lake Valley where people pay low rents, plus their utilities.
"About 36 percent of Utahns qualify for our projects," said PSC owner Peter S. Cooke, who added there is a waiting list of more than 3,000 to get into affordable housing. PSC manages about 800 units of affordable housing for low income people and next year will start similar projects in California.
Take the Meredith Apartments, 160 1st Ave., for example, an apartment building located a stone's throw from Brigham Young's grave and built about 1910. The Meredith is listed on the state and national historical registers, which makes it difficult in the renovation process because of special requirements to maintain the original appearance.
Chris Nielson, construction director for PSC, said the Meredith was condemned and, with a few derelict tenants, the building suffered from many years of neglect.
On a 50-50 basis with The Boyer Co., PSC used low income tax credits made possible by Congress in 1986 to finance the equity in the renovation project. Related Capital, N.Y., was the equity partner and a local construction loan came from Key Bank of Utah for the $500,000 project.
One year after renovation of the Meredith was completed, Cooke and Nielson enjoy a sense of accomplishment because they took an old building and turned it into affordable housing for low income residents and maintained the historical integrity.
Inside the Meredith, the entire areahas been painted, heating system was converted to forced air gas furnaces so each unit can maintain its own heat level, the plumbing has been replaced, there are new floor coverings, asbestos has been removed, there are new appliances, new windows, a new roof and new laundry room in the basement.
Cooke said the building is ideal for many of its tenants because the ones who are employed work in the downtown area and get to work either by walking or on the bus. The Meredith renovation was completed in December 1989, people were moving in by last Christmas and within three weeks all 22 apartments were rented.
Tenants, who pay an average of $75-$100 per month in rent, also pay their utilities. Cooke said many of his tenants are single-parent families and many of the tenants receive welfare help.
Such is the case of Wanda Lucas, a divorced mother of two who receives welfare and doesn't work. Her previous apartment had costly heating problems, so she was glad to move into the Meredith with its improved heating situation.
She said PSC is a good landlord, willing to fix any problems that occur and the building is clean and well-maintained.
PSC has completed other renovation proj-ects including the Trenton, 544 E. 100 South; the Ritz, 435 E. South Temple; the Ashby, 358 E. 100 South; and the Heartland Apartments, 1700 S. Redwood Road, and is in the process of renovating the Ivanhoe Apartments, 417 E. 300 South.
Cooke said these apartments were in bad condition, necessitating extensive work on the windows, changing the boiler system to a forced-air heating system, repairing the plumbing, installing new kitchen cabinets and rebuilding the balconies.
The Ivanhoe will have a laundry room, parking in the rear and a small playground where children can play as part of the $550,000 project.
Nielson said the 19 units in the Ivanhoe should be rented by Dec. 31.