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Do you have a contaminated plot of land in the middle of the City that’s desperate for development? Do you have a neglected landmark that no one cared about until it was too late? Or do you have a have an affordable housing complex that is so forgotten and riddled with code violations that a significant number of units are boarded up? Well, the City of Ypsilanti would like to give away this valuable property to any developer willing to get it back on the tax rolls. Don’t have a plan? It doesn’t matter. As long as you have a hundred bucks, millions of dollars worth of property can be yours. That sounds like a late-night informercial, but it’s actually City policy said is a less eloquent but far more snarky way.
The City of Ypsilanti has recently relied heavily on developers like Ohio’s Edwards Communities and Troy’s Biltmore Homes to turn the City’s fortunes around. The City hoped to take the same approach with the Parkview Apartments by selling the property to the Finch Group of Florida. That was until the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development selected the Ypsilanti Housing Commission to renovate and run them. In response to HUD’s decision, council had hoped to pass Resolution 2005-55 that would have disapproved of any YHC purchase, lease, agreement, or option regarding the Parkview Apartments. Fortunately a massive outpouring of support led to the resolution being tabled. Council did, however, unanamously pass a resolution to grant the City authority over the YHC’s ability to purchase property. It was a shaky truce, but it did provide a glimpse of the trust that could one day develop between City Council and the residents of Ypsilanti.
The YHC’s plan would allow everyone who could pay their rent to stay. The property would remain Section 8 eligible. The complex would be privately run. But the most important aspect of the plan was that HUD accepted their plan meaning the property wouldn’t be sold at auction. Had the property been put up for auction, the expected purchase price was estimated to be $2M, meaning less money for improvements and rehabilitation. As it stands, the YHC has $1M immediately available for renovations and a plan to secure up to $4M in tax credits. Finally, the YHC stated they would not need a pilot and could pay all property taxes.
The YHC’s presentation can be found here. Click your mouse to advance the slides.
Hats off to City Council for making the right decision.
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