City buying taxforeclosed homes

August 5, 2011
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City commissioners recently gave the Grand Rapids Economic Development Office a green light to buy 15 tax-foreclosed homes for $103,428, plus $300 in recording fees, from the Kent County Treasurer. EDC is making the purchases on behalf of seven housing developers, including Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and LINC Community Revitalization Inc., which will rehabilitate the homes and put all 15 on the market.

Economic Development Director Kara Wood said 11 of the properties will be purchased with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through its Neighborhood Stabilization Program at a cost of $85,373. The remaining four homes will cost $18,055. The developers already have deposited those funds with EDC. Thirteen of the homes are on the city’s southeast side. The other two are on the northeast side.

The Mohawk Construction Group, Lee Kitson Builder Inc., Dale Brown & Associates, Next Step of West Michigan Inc. and the New Development Corp. are the other developers.

Commissioners also approved a tax exemption and a payment-in-lieu of taxes for the owner of the Orchard Place Apartments at 1300 Knapp St. NE. The exemption runs for 15 years; the nonprofit owner will pay the city 4 percent of the annual rent receipts as a service charge instead of making property-tax payments. The apartment house has 138 units, which range from 765 square feet to 1,200 square feet that offer up to three-bedroom models. Monthly rents range from $704 to $1,015 and include utility allowances.

Community Development Manager Erin Banchoff reported that as a condition of receiving Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the owner committed to renting all 138 units under the rent and income restrictions of the LIHTC program for 45 years, through an agreement with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

Orchard Place was built in 1995 and operated with the tax exemption and PILOT for its first 15 years until the end of last year. The latest action by the city gives the owner another 15 years.

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