If you want a clean and affordable place to live, Andy Bias is your man. For 16 years, he was at the helm of Mennonite Housing, where he built affordable houses in Northeast Wichita. Mennonite also renovated or eliminated a number of dilapidated housing projects that were eyes sores and criminal hubs. Their work garnered Bias and his team a prestigious seal of approval – the annual Community Neighborhood Association of the Year Award presented by the Wichita Branch NAACP.

Wichitans may remember the crime-ridden apartment community near 9th and Madison where the gated and secure Madison Avenue Apartment Complex now sits. You wouldn’t have wanted your mother or your children to go near the area, but now, the Madison Avenue Clubhouse is a place for senior dinners, social clubs and even wedding receptions.

Mennonite also cleaned up Sunflower Apartments near 13th and Hydraulic — another drug infested area. That’s where French Quarters sits now – another project that provides those in need, clean, safe and affordable housing.

Bias left Mennonite about three years ago, and for a while worked on redevelopment projects in the Kansas City area. But he’s back in Wichita, once again working his affordable housing magic.

This time, he has his own company, Bias Development Group. He’s also partnering on projects with local businessman Rob Snyder. They operate as Central Plains Development II, LLC.

The two have a good history working together. While Bias was at Mennonite, he bought Sunflower Apartments from Snyder and rebuilt that project. As business partners, they’ve refurbished the 24-unit Bluffview Place in Hilltop, turning it into units for battered and abused women.

Now, Snyder and Bias are investing $5 million in a project to renovate the 72-unit Peaceful Village Apartments in Plainview.

“We’re totally demolishing the units, bringing them down to the studs,” said Bias. “We’re putting in new electrical, flooring, all new appliances and plumbing.”

Like the Mennonite Housing Units, the complex will have onsite management and a club house

The first 24 units at Peaceful Village (they may change the name) will be available for rent around Nov. 1. All of the units are three bedrooms and they’ll rent for $587 per month. All of the units are reserved for households that earn 60% or below the area median income and half of the units will be reserved for households earning 50% or below the area median income. Two units will be set aside for the homeless at $400 per month rent. There are no units specifically set aside for seniors, but seniors are welcome.

These affordable projects are made possible in part through a program offered by the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation. Each year the Corporation makes available a certain amount of Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The credits are assigned to a project. With the tax credits in hand, developers like Bias, Mennonite Housing and Central Plains are able to get people to invest in their project in return for receiving a 9% tax credit off their taxes for 10 years. Remember tax credits come right off the amount you owe in taxes.

The individuals or companies that invest get the tax credits for 10 years. In turn, the developers – in this case Bias and Snyder – have to comply with the rules they set out in their application (i.e., income qualifications and reduced rents), for 15 years. So the good news for those in need – these projects will be around for a while as quality affordable housing.

Next up for Bias and Snyder are the 188 unit Keystone Apartments at Lincoln and Edgemore. On his own, Bias is working on an 11-unit project at Waterman and Hydraulic. Those units are designated for 50% below area median income, with two units for the homeless.

If you would like to reach Bias about any of the available of upcoming units, he can be reached at: (316) 684-7734. Once the clubhouse is finished at Peaceful Village, he’ll be housed there.

Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.