Wednesday, May 03, 2000

Council may pull housing funding

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Scant answers on the firing of a developer has Cincinnati council members talking about yanking $9 million for a West End housing project.

        Saying the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority has “betrayed” residents and the city, council members Tuesday questioned their support of the Laurel Homes remodeling project.

        “I personally don't understand how a partner could be dealt with as the city has been dealt with on this project,” said Councilman Todd Portune at the council's Neighborhood and Public Works Committee meeting. “The city, as your ($9 million) partner, has been kept in the dark.”

        For two weeks, some Laurel Homes residents have been complaining to council members that the termination of Concorde Capital-Midcity will delay the $100 million project.

        Charles Gerhardt, CMHA acting board president, said the board has already begun negotiating with a second developer and promised there would be no delays. But he was guarded about why the first developer was fired, saying the developer has already threatened litigation.

        The project — which will replace 21 of 24 buildings housing about 5,000 residents — stems from a nationwide program to redo public housing projects into urban communities, called Hope VI. Last year, the authority won a $35 million Hope VI grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish 970 apartments in Laurel Homes, which is across Ezzard Charles Drive from Lincoln Court.

        But council seemed more concerned about the reasons Concorde was fired.


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