News Ticker

Low-Income Apartments on Tempe Metro Line Face Opposition

By Garin Groff for East Valley Tribune

Photo Credit: Tim Hacker / Tribune

Neighbors have spent a year fighting a four-story low-income apartment and retail building called Gracie’s Village, which would replace the single-story Gracie’s thrift store on Apache Boulevard. The site is flanked by two neighborhoods with historic designations.

The City Council will decide the fate of Gracie’s Village May 31. A recent hearing on the plan generated complaints that the project would set the stage for multi-level buildings to tower over all the neighborhoods that back up to Apache Boulevard in Tempe.

Grace Community Church owns the 2-acre site and is working with Wisconsin-based Gorman & Company on the proposed 50-apartment building west of McClintock Drive. The building would include retail space for Gracie’s on the ground level.

The original plan called for a six-story building with 75 units, but Gorman scaled it back in response to neighbors’ concerns. Gorman would hire a professional management company to ensure the project serves people who work in Tempe but can’t afford to live there, said Manjula Vaz, the developer’s attorney.

The housing is for families with incomes of about $18,000 to $52,000.

The 50-unit plan has more density than the current zoning allows, but Vaz said it fits with the vision the city has for the area as defined in the voter-approved general plan.

Some neighbors support the plan because they say it’s a better use for the site and would make it easier for low-income people who work in Tempe to also live there. They also cited the church’s charitable contributions to the community.

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