New Phoenix apartments to replace old public housing units

Phoenix officials will break ground Thursday on new affordable housing to replace old public housing units from the 1960s being razed for redevelopment of the economically depressed Edison-Eastlake neighborhood east of downtown.

The city says 38 obsolete units will be replaced with 78 new energy-efficient, affordable apartment homes of one to five bedrooms. The Monroe Gardens development is to open in late 2020.

Redevelopment of the A.L. Krohn East Public Housing site is being funded with part of a $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to revamp the entire neighborhood. Arizona's Department of Housing is providing federal tax credits.

The new construction comes amid an affordable-housing crisis in Phoenix, which is seeing some of the nation's fastest-rising rents. More people are moving into the area as they abandon cold winters in the Midwest or flee high housing costs in California. Crumbling apartment houses around downtown are being replaced by luxury apartments many working-class people cannot afford.

Redevelopment of Krohn and other public housing around the old St. Luke's Medical Center aims to provide more than 1,000 families with new affordable and market-rate housing. The hospital recently closed because it was not drawing enough patients.