Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

City OKs more low-cost housing

NOTE:

Tucson is looking to buy two multifamily complexes to provide additional affordable housing for low-income families.

The City Council voted 6-0 yesterday to tell the city’s Community Services Department to act on buying the properties. Mayor George Miller was absent.

Karen Thoreson of the city’s Community Services Department said the complexes would be “self-sustaining’ units. The city could charge rent of about $300 a month to cover maintenance costs and utilities, she said.

Federal government funds that are available for expanding affordable housing will be used to purchase the complexes, she said.

Councilman Tom Saggau noted that if the federal government cuts such funds, the city has no backup plan.

Saggau added a motion to allow people to buy the units and structure the rent payments they make as a loan.

The two complexes the city is looking at are the Stonepointe Apartments, 3552 N. Stone Ave., and the Palo Verde Terrace Apartments, 3493 E. Lind Road.

Both are owned by the Resolution Trust Corp. with the Pima County Industrial Development Authority. The RTC will close its office in Denver in March and must sell the complexes before then, according to the city.

The local Industrial Development Authority wants to buy both properties to ensure they are retained as affordable rentals. IDA would buy the properties, then sell them to the city.

The sales of the properties could take place by next week.

Thoreson estimated there are about 5,000 Tucsonans on a waiting list for affordable housing.

Stonepointe has 10 studio and 16 one-bedroom units. It is fully rented now.

Units in the property could be rented to low-income, young disabled people, or other similar groups by non-profit agencies through the El Portal Agency Program as units become vacant, Thoreson said. Tenants now living there would not be displaced.

Thoreson estimated the cost for Stonepointe would run about $7,000 per unit.

The Palo Verde Terrace Apartments is a 52-unit complex with 40 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units. It is about 50 percent occupied.

Rents on both properties are running below market rates, Thoreson said.

It could run about $5,000 per housing unit to buy the Palo Verde Terrace Apartments, excluding renovation, she said.

In other action, the City Council delayed discussion of the Solid Waste Management Business Plan that could call for a garbage collection fee of $10.40 per month to homeowners. Owners of single-family residences now pay no fee.

No new hearing date was set.

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