May 25, 2024

Mar. 11—PERU — A moving crew unloaded furniture from a box truck as rain fell Friday along the Wabash River.

It was one of three move-ins and three showings scheduled for the day at Wabash River Commons, Peru’s newest housing complex.

The 26-acre property, at 548 Sycamore Trail, is now open. The 180-unit complex offers multiple different styles of housing and is located by the new Miami County YMCA. It’s all part of the city of Peru’s River Landing Project, meant to rejuvenate old railroad property.

The city purchased the 40 acres from railroad company CSX for $250,000 in 2017.

“It was really a blight on the community,” said Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority.

Wabash River Commons has one- and two-bedroom apartments, one- and two-bedroom duplexes, townhomes and a senior living facility.

City stakeholders, including Tidd and new Peru Mayor Don Sturch, were on hand Friday for a ribbon cutting of the new development.

“I see moving vans already today, that is incredible,” the mayor said. “I want people to come to the city, and this is a great start.”

The two-bedroom duplexes have been best sellers. Representatives with the housing complex said those units are nearly full.

“It fits so many demographics,” said Burke Richeson, attorney for Wabash River Equities LLC, the company that developed the property. “These are some of the most popular units we have.”

Capacity is between 50%-55% overall. Burke said it’s been a mixture of locals and people moving in from out of town.

Rental prices range from $845 to $895 a month for a one-bedroom apartment and $945 to $995 for two-bedroom apartments, according to listings on the complex’s website.

Senior living units are going for $845 for a one bedroom and $1,145 for a two bedroom.

Other rents (duplexes, townhomes) range from $1,145 to $1,495 a month.

Housing is a pressing need, not only in Peru, but the general region. That need is largely driven by the electric vehicle battery plant developments in Kokomo. Many suppliers for the plants are also making their way to the area, further increasing the need for housing.

Richeson said a study last fall indicated the need for 450 single-family homes within five years.

Many of the duplexes border the river and the Riverwalk Trail. They include back patios that face the river.

Richeson said the way the duplexes were built — bunched together — allowed for more units than originally planned.

Appliances are included in all units. For the duplexes, that includes Whirlpool washers and dryers.

Richeson said units are meant to be easily repairable.

The apartment units are in the middle of the property. The senior living facility is on the east end.

Senior living is group style. There are individual units all on a single level to accommodate older people.

There are also common areas and indoor parking for these residents, for an additional price.

Other units also have garages and indoor parking options. There is a clubhouse available to rent.

Wabash River Commons is a $20 million project. The development received $600,000 in public funding from the Peru City Council in the form of tax-increment financing and economic development funding.

The Miami City Council also pledged $200,000 in American Rescue Plan funding.

Much of the funding was used to construct a special foundation due to soil compaction issues.

Riverfront development continues

A new YMCA and the housing project are far from the last developments the area will see.

Tidd said READI grant funding will be used for a $2.7 million project that will widen Forest Street and see the installation of a traffic signal.

Canal Street will also have some work done.

Burke said the Department of Natural Resources is putting in a boat ramp along the Wabash River.

He also mentioned outdoor basketball courts and a splash pad as riverwalk amenities.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.

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