Council approves agreement for housing complex

City Council Thursday approved a cooperative agreement with owner and manager of a planned multi-housing complex to be built once the Brodart warehouse is razed later this summer.

In doing so, council released $300,000 in federal Housing and Urban Development “Home Funds” allocated to be used by the city to go toward the apartment and townhouse project at 1609 Memorial Avenue.

City engineer John Grado, director of community and economic development, said the $300,000 was unspent and to be used for another housing complex known as West End Terraces on West Fourth Street, but the city faced a June 30 deadline to use it and this project is more timely and holds more marketing potential.

It includes 40 apartments and 32 townhouses and improvement and investment for about 150 other houses in the neighborhood.

Representatives for Arbor Housing and Development and NRP Group were at the meeting. Arbor Housing is the owner and manager of the property and will be in charge of daily operation responsibilities, while NRP Group is the primary builder of the property.

A third private investor, P&L Investments of Washington, D.C. is responsible for the clean up of the brownfields site, a former industrial site that must be remediated, cleaned up of any toxins, vermin and insects, razed and prepared as a pad-ready construction site for the apartments and townhouses.

“I live in Wellsboro,” said Jeffrey E. Eaton, chief executive officer of Arbor Housing and Development, which will be management at Memorial Homes. The company has a 40-year history of managing similar properties in southern New York and is seeking to expand into this state.

Shifting the $300,000 from West End Terraces to the apartments and neighborhood surrounding it affects it in a positive way with a spillover that could impact 150 houses, according to Councilman Jonathan Williamson.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz viewed the relevance of the long-term commitment of the investors as did Councilwoman Liz Miele.

Councilman Randall J. Allison said the $300,000 is actually a low-interest loan to be repaid at 1 percent interest.