Francisville: 16th and Poplar Project Almost Finished

"Now we're just doing finishing," said David La Fontaine, program director of Community Ventures.

The Francisville East development at 16th and Poplar streets is nearly finished, developers said.

Community Ventures, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, broke ground on the project last February – a time when construction projects were at a standstill all over the city.

"Now we're just doing finishing," said David La Fontaine, program director of Community Ventures.

Developers are confident the project will be completed by March.

Francisville East includes 25 senior apartments and 17 single-family homes – most of which have already been spoken for, developers said.

“All of the single-family homes already have tenants lined up,” said David La Fontaine, the program director of Community Ventures. “Most of the apartments have also been rented out.”

As part of its mission, Community Ventures partners closely with residents and neighborhood development groups to ensure the projects inspire positive change in the neighborhood.

Community Ventures projects are consistent with the neighborhood plan entitled “Moving Francisville Forward: A Blueprint for the Future,” drafted by People for People Inc. and the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corp.

Penelope Giles, the executive director of FNDC, said the organization is pleased with Community Ventures’ developments in the neighborhood.

“We have a very good relationship with our developers,” she said.

Community Ventures has been constructing properties in Francisville since the late 1980s, and it currently owns over 100 housing units in the neighborhood.

Since then, the developer has been “priced out of the neighborhood,” La Fontaine said.

“In terms of community redevelopment, Francisville doesn’t need us the way it once did,” he said. “The market has taken over development in the neighborhood.”

“We have some remaining lots in Francisville that we bought when lots were going for next to nothing,” he continued. “It’s not like that anymore.”

La Fontaine said he was shocked to see some homes in the neighborhood selling for more than $500,000.

“We were selling homes a few blocks up the street for $50,000,” he said.

While the city agencies that subsidize Community Ventures’ housing refuse to foot the bill for the increasing land prices in Francisville, the developer still has some existing lots it plans to work on in the coming year, La Fontaine said.

“We’re pretty busy right now, but we’ll get there,” said La Fontaine.

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