Council demands meet-and-greet with NY company

City Council and Mayor Gabriel J. Campana don’t want any legal problems associated with a proposed property management company that may oversee operations of a 40-unit apartment building to be constructed once the Brodart warehouse is demolished later this year.

“We don’t want any more headaches,” Campana informed the Sun-Gazette during a break in the council meeting.

That’s why efforts are under way to hold a face-to-face meeting with the future property management company, Steuben Churchpeople Against Poverty/Arbor Housing Development of Bath, N.Y., he said.

“They will be vetted by my administration and council,” Campana said Thursday night.

Council on Thursday unanimously accepted a plan to pursue a $375,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. If the city receives the grant, the money will cover a portion of the $26 million cost to build the housing project.

The city has worked with apartment management companies in the past that have resulted in poorly managed properties, Campana said. With some of these housing projects, the police department has been continually involved, he said.

But, council voiced its support for site developer P&L Investments, of Washington, D.C. The company reinvests in brownfield sites, which are industrial sites that are cleaned of toxins and reused for residential or commercial purposes.

Council also accepts the NRP Group, of Cleveland, Ohio, the builder, which is expected to have its financing in place by September. Construction should take about a year, said John Grado, city engineer and director of community and economic development.

In addition to the apartments, 32 market-rate townhouses are to be developed once the apartments are built and occupied. That target date is September 2014, Grado said.

Meanwhile, the Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity also plans to build two single-family dwellings near Scott Street, he said.

As part of the language of the grant application, the city reimburses the state for any expenditures found by the department to be ineligible. That section of the contract is standard in these types of agreements, but Councilman Jonathan Williamson said it puts the city “on the hook” to oversee any subrecipient partners to ensure they complete the work they are assigned.

He added that actions taken by council with the nonprofit do not add expenditures to the city or to Lycoming County for the $26 million overall housing plan.