Megann Horstead | For The Bugle
The Joliet City Council approved a series of measures last week that will allow the city to take possession of the Evergreen Terrace housing development and recuperate funds from the transfer of rights to the property.
In a 7-1 vote, officials agreed to allow the execution of project-based rental assistance, housing assistance payment contracts, and Department of Housing and Urban Development use agreements. Councilman Larry Hug cast the lone dissenting vote.
The council voted 6-2 to approve the transfer of title of Evergreen Terrace to Riverwalk Homes, a limited liability company joining the city and Holsten. Councilman Larry Hug and councilwoman Jan Quillman voted against the measure.
Officials cast a 7-1 vote that will allow the city to recover funds spent to acquire the housing development by extending a seller loan and mortgage to Riverwalk Homes. Councilman Larry Hug voted down the measure.
City Manager Jim Hock said a lot of moving parts stand between the city’s effort to take ownership of the property, but one of the first steps is to come to an agreement regarding the transfer of HUD funds to the limited liability company.
“That will authorize the transfer of those contracts in essence to the LLC,” Hock said. “But, of course that won’t happen until we take ownership. These other resolutions allow us to take ownership of the property, immediately transfer it to the LLC, and then the LLC can collect those contracts and get the income from those properties.”
Hug noted that since the city cast the approval vote to take ownership of the property, a number of additional measures have passed in connection to the purchase of Evergreen Terrace.
Huge said he wouldn’t support the city’s use of grant funds to redevelop the town if there is any connection to the Evergreen Terrace purchase.
“We’ve done some things like taking the Community Development Block Grant funds and focused them on that property, as far as the returned ones that were withheld because of the lawsuit,” he said. “All of these are all part of a progression all predicated on the process.“
To date, Hug has voted in opposition to all matters relating to the purchase of Evergreen Terrace, which was approved in 2015.
Hock said approving these measures signifies that the end is near in the city’s effort to takeover the housing development. By approving the transfer of the title, the city is protected from any potential lawsuit, he added.
“This was also part of the HUD settlement that we agreed that we would set up the LLC, rather than the city owning it directly,” Hock said.
Hock added that the limited liability company is intended to serve as a formal 50/50 arrangement between the city and Holsten. The partnership works for a number of reasons, he said.
“HUD wanted to see an experienced development company landholder who they had worked with historically,” Hock said. “Holsten was selected for that purpose. Together, the city and Holsten will be the owners of the LLC.”
The agreement with Holsten shows that the city is in control of the decision-making in the partnership.
“In essence on an annual basis, the LLC will be paying a mortgage amount to the city, which is based on the purchase price of a little over $15 million, minus the $3.6 million we’re going get from HUD from the retroactive CDBG funds,” Hock said. “The mortgage amount will be $11.4 million, and they’ll be paying on a 0-percent interest, 30-year mortgage.”
Hock added that repayment can be adjusted at a later date should the city decide on redevelopment.