Joliet council erases $1.4M Victory Centre debt

Karen Sorensen | 9/3/2014, 5:55 p.m.
Joliet will not be losing any money in the deal because the funding to convert the old Joliet Catholic High ...
Victory Senior Centre, formerly Joliet Catholic High School, at 29 N. Broadway St.

Victory Senior Centre in Joliet will have $1.4 million in federal debt forgiven in exchange for a promise from its owners that they will keep it as affordable senior housing through 2028.

The Joliet City Council signed off on the deal at its Tuesday night meeting, although the money is technically a federal funding awarded to nonprofit Victory Associates through the city, City Manager Jim Hock said.

"The city isn't losing any money," Hock said. This action ensures "it remains as affordable senior housing through 2028," he said.

The federal loan was approved in 1997, with $400,000 earmarked for the purchase of the 29 N. Broadway site -- formerly home to Joliet Catholic High School -- and another $385,000 designated to rehab the building into what are now 57 senior citizen apartments.

Joliet stepped in to assist with the financing to ensure Victory Associates was able to get the maximum in tax credits allowed, Hock said. The move also ensured that a vacant building would be put to good use rather than becoming a white elephant, Councilman Larry Hug noted.

The center opened in 1998, and has been almost always completely leased since them, a company official said.

Had the debt not been discharged, Victory Associates might have been forced to raise rents in order to stay on top of payments, Hock said.

The council unanimously signed off on the action, with Mayor Tom Giarrante joking that the owners have just one more task to complete.

"Now we have to see how we can get that victory light working again," he said.

Contact Karen Sorensen at Karen@TheTimesWeekly.com.