Half of apartments termed uninhabitable

Half of September Apartments I are unlivable, Economic Development Director Roger Holter told City Council Monday.

“Of the 20 units, 15 are unoccupied and 10 are uninhabitable,” Holter said.

The apartments were built in 1987 with a 50-year loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The original loan was $554,898. By July 2012, only $55,557 of the principal had been paid off when Marion September Housing, a partnership based in Topeka, offered to return the apartments to USDA with 25 years and $499,341 left on the loan.

USDA agreed to forgive all but $120,000 of the loan, which was the appraised value. The plan was for USDA to get the remaining $120,000 through sale of the apartments to Homestead Affordable Housing.

Tom Bishop, director of Homestead Affordable Housing, met in May with September residents to discuss plans to renovate September I. At that time he said 11 of the apartments were in use. The plan was to relocate residents while construction went on. As of Tuesday, Marion September Housing was still listed as the owner of the apartments.

Sunrise Townhomes, owned by a local investment group and built a decade later, offer a contrast to September I. The townhomes had no vacancies at any time in 2012, and they have been 92 to 97 percent full over the past seven years, Lois Smith, one of the local investors, said in April.

Investors received income tax credits for 15 years, but no loans or property tax credits from local governments, and paid off the townhomes in 10 years.

 

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