Chattanooga Housing Authority scheduled to pick buyer for Tubman site today

Chattanooga Housing Authority scheduled to pick buyer for Tubman site today

March 11th, 2014 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

AT A GLANCE

• Who: Chattanooga Housing Authority

• What: Called board meeting

• When: 9 a.m. today

• Where: CHA board room, 801 N. Holtzclaw Ave.

• Why: The board is expected to vote on a developer for the Harriet Tubman site

The former Harriet Tubman Homes site in East Chattanooga is seen from Missionary Ridge.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

A fourth buyer for the former Harriet Tubman housing site has emerged as the Chattanooga Housing Authority considers bids from potential developers.

However, the Detroit-based developer included so many contingencies in its offer that proposals from Lakewood Realty, a Chicago-based company, and Chattanooga may still be the two front-runners to buy the site.

CHA board members are expected to vote on a buyer at a called board meeting at 9 a.m. today.

"It's almost over," CHA Executive Director Betsy McCright said.

"Hopefully, by this time tomorrow this will all be behind us," said board Chairman Eddie Holmes.

American Community Developers Inc. of Detroit delivered its bid to the housing authority on Friday, about three weeks after CHA's Feb. 14 deadline, but CHA officials said they still would consider it. The proposal includes contingencies that will affect how much it is willing to pay CHA for the 36.5 acre tract.

If American Community Developers gets a minimum of 155 project-based vouchers for the site, then the company will pay CHA $10,000 a unit for an offer of about $1.5 million.

If the Tennessee Housing Development Agency awards the company with 9 percent low-income housing tax credits in addition to the company securing the vouchers, then it will give CHA $20,000 per unit for an offer of $3 million.

The final price won't be determined until American Community Developers gets its vouchers and notification about tax credits. No one will know if they receive tax credits until about June or July 2015, said Naveed Minhas, CHA's vice president of development.

"That is a lot of ifs," said Minhas. "[But] we will consider all. That is our job."

CHA officials have been trying to sell the Tubman site, at 1800 Roanoke Ave., for more than two years.

Tubman was once home to more than 440 families.

This morning board members will hear from CHA staff about a buyer recommendation, then are expected to choose from among four offers. The housing authority's March 25 board meeting will be canceled.

Offers for Tubman range from $1.5 million to $3.3 million

Boarded-up doors are seen at the site of the former Harriet Tubman Homes. CHA hopes to sell the property Tuesday.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

The other offers include Mayor Andy Berke's bid of $1 million plus a 20-acre tract of land. Chicago-based Lakewood Realty Group offered $3.3 million along with $100,000 in cash at the time of the sale.

Berke has proposed using the site for jobs, while Lakewood has proposed housing.

Local developer Geoffrey Singer has bid $1 million, but some CHA board members have said the offer is too low.

CHA officials have said that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that the property be sold for at least $2.46 million.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6431.