Lately Exeter has seen a lot of dirt being pushed around and walls going up near the corner of Visalia Road and Belmont Avenue. A little more than a year ago, the Dollar General went up and opened next to Burger King.
Now walls are going up on the corner for a new home to Rite Aid, currently located kitty-corner next to Save Mart. More recently, ground has been broken for a new 24-unit housing project just south of the corner down Belmont.
“It is all part of the city’s southwest development plan,” said City Manager Randy Groom.
The apartment facility is being developed by the Housing Authority of Tulare County on excess property purchased from the Exeter Union School District.
“It is the kind of project we want to have here,” Groom said.
The city looked at other Housing Authority projects in other communities such as Farmersville and found them to be well maintained, Groom added.
When completed, the facility will provide affordable homes to 24 local families, with an income of 60% or less of the median average, said Ken Kugler, the Housing Authority’s executive director.
There will be two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, a community center, covered patio and open space, Kugler said.
Exeter has not had an affordable project site built since 1987 or ’88, he said. It was time, the Housing Authority felt, and so moved forward with the project.
The Housing Authority just recently completed another apartment complex in Porterville consisting of 80 units at the corner of Henderson Avenue and Newcomb Street. The Housing Authority has been overrun with applicants for these apartments, with approximately 28 of them already approved, Kugler said.
The Exeter apartment project is expected to be completed sometime in September or October, and while the Housing Authority will maintain a waiting list, formal applications will not be taken until sometime in June, Kugler said. Applications cannot be older than 90 days prior to move in.
The new Rite Aid building anticipates a grand opening sometime in the spring, according to Kristin Kellum, a public relations specialist for the company. The development was started prior to the Walgreens buyout of the Rite Aid in October. According to CNN, the merger of the two pharmacy companies cost Walgreens $17.2 billion.
The Rite Aid store across the street will move into the new building. It is not yet clear whether the store will retain the Rite Aid name or become a Walgreens. No plans have been revealed for the building Rite Aid will vacate.