The Rock Island Housing Authority has been given the green light to demolish the 60-year-old Manor Homes public housing complex and redevelop the property.

Gail Brooks, public relations coordinator for the Rock Island Housing Authority, announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved the plan by the authority and its nonprofit affiliate, Community Housing Services.

Relocation of  the 346 people who live in the complex at 2601 7th St. has begun, she added.

“We’re estimating that relocating the residents will take 90-120 days, give or take a few days either way,” she said.

Residents will receive relocation vouchers they can use to move into another subsidized housing property, such as in Moline or to Century Woods in Rock Island. They can also use the vouchers as part of a down payment on a house, or for renting a home or apartment, Brooks said.

“Up to this point, we’ve just been having a conversation with residents about their relocation,” Brooks said. “We’ve been discussing that with them since last year when we announced plans to demolish and redevelop the land. There is an active relocation program in place that is being implemented, and there is a resident relocation specialist on site.”

Brooks said nothing could be done until the vouchers to help residents pay for relocation came through. Demolition of the property will begin after everyone is relocated, she said.

Built in 1952, the 4.34-acre site includes 102 units in 14 buildings.

Brooks said when the original Rock Island Housing Authority Asset Management Plan was announced in 2003, Manor Homes was not considered physically obsolete, but it was quickly approaching that point.

Manor Homes was re-evaluated in 2008. Brooks said HUD does not consider the renovation of public properties viable when costs exceed 90 percent of the total development cost for new construction. The 2008 physical needs of Manor Homes indicated that renovation costs would be 119.25 percent of the total development cost for new construction.

The subdivision that will replace Manor Homes will include 55 single-family homes and duplexes for rent, she said.

Housing will include two-, three- and four-bedroom units, with 43 of them reserved for families earning at or below 30 percent, 50 percent and 60 percent of the area's median income. The other 12 units will be available to market-rate households with no income restrictions.

The development also will feature new streets, street lights and sidewalks, as well as new water, sewer, gas, and electric lines.

Brooks said the project is estimated at $12 million and is expected to take up to 12 years to complete.