ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – What a deal! After months of controversial real estate talks and delays, the St. Petersburg Housing Authority has finally purchased the 237-unit Jordan Park Housing project from private developers for $10. That’s right, one Hamilton just bought a whole lot of income property for taxpayers.
The original asking price was $400,000, but the developers backed off on their cash demand after an Eight On Your Side investigation questioned why the housing authority was essentially buying back what taxpayers had paid for in the first place. In other words, it would have been a You Paid For It twice scenario. “Anytime you can save the taxpayers 400,000 and I have to say a big thank you to you for that as well,” said St. Petersburg Council Member Steve Kornell.”I think between the two if us we convinced the developer it was probably better not to try to gouge the taxpayer again.”
No one thought that looked good – especially the developers who quickly agreed to forget about the cash payment as long as the housing authority invested the money in much-needed repairs at Jordan Park.
The private developers still get to walk away from millions of dollars in financing debt from HUD and the City of St. Petersburg – money they used to build the project 16 years ago. The housing authority plans to pour as much as $21 million into Jordan Parkover the next 20 years to restore the development and keep it in good shape after years of decline under the ownership and management of private developers. As part of the original deal in 2001, those developers kept 100 percent of the rent and federal subsidies, along with collecting lucrative tax credits .
Wednesday, maintenance workers and repair crews were already starting an immediate $2 million face lift of Jordan park. The offices are getting a spring cleaning and some units are getting new air conditioners to replace ones that wore out long ago.” We are going to manage our property at a higher level,” said St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love.
At least one elderly resident of Jordan Par certainly homes so.Charles Cohens says he spent part of his summer last year chasing rats in his home.”Every night I came home there was a rat you know what I mean behind the stove behind the TV sometimes in the bedroom and in the kitchen,” Cohens said. Now, under the new management of the Housing Authority, Cohens hopes for a better life at Jordan Park. “Living in the condition I was living in it was terrible, Cohens said. “So I’m glad someone is taking over and doing a better job at what they’re doing.”
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